UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation gets a new name…

Posted on May 30, 2011 by

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We found out last week that the new medical research institute being built near Kings Cross in London – currently known as the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation or UKCMRI – will be called the Francis Crick Institute. On the same day the Commons Science & Technology Committee published their latest report on the centre. This was very enthusiastic about the benefits of the project but expressed concerns over its location, including the increased costs associated with a central-London location, that it adds to the concentration of research in the ‘golden triangle’ of South East of England and the impact it will have on the local community (there is a lot of housing in the area).

Background

The government committed £220 million funding for UKCMRI from the Department of Health budget in the spending review back in October 2010.

The centre now has planning permission and the initial construction contract has been signed. You can see what it’s going to look like here. As the Science & Technology Committee’s report has it,

the groundbreaking ceremony is imminent,

This is a joint project. The four founder partners are the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and UCL (University College London). Imperial and King’s have since joined them and will help fund the development of the new institute.

What does this mean for medical research?

As the committee concluded in their report:

This is clearly a project of national importance with the potential to deliver significant improvements in human and animal health.

The institute aims to bring together leading experts from lots of different disciplines to work together. The big idea is that bringing everyone together in one place will help to get over some of the problems we have at the moment of translating  amazing research going on laboratories into treatments in hospitals and pharmacies. Or as they put it much better:

UKCMRI aims to provide an answer to fast-moving changes in the medical sciences, by facilitating collaboration between disciplines and the translation of increasingly specialised scientific research from the laboratory through to hospitals and pharmacies.

What next?

They haven’t started building yet so a long way to go… The Commons Science & Technology Committee plan to keep checking up on the project as it goes forward, they are due to receive regular, six monthly updates.

Posted in: Policy