Press release

UKCMRI submits plans for world-leading medical research institute

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) has applied to Camden Council for permission to build a world-leading medical research institute at St Pancras and Somers Town in London.

The creation of the UKCMRI facility will reinforce London’s and the UK’s position as a global centre of research excellence. As an independent registered charity, UKCMRI will conduct research into the basic biology underlying human health. In addition, effective collaboration with other research and clinical establishments, many of which are nearby, will speed up the process of turning discoveries made in the laboratory into effective treatments for the most significant diseases affecting people today.

The planning application was submitted on 1 September 2010 and is expected to be heard by members of the Development Control Committee before the end of the year, following a formal consultation by the Council. If approved, construction will begin next year with completion in 2015.

The application follows over two years of consultation with scientists, business leaders, politicians and planners. Local residents and community groups were invited to comment on the proposals at more than 70 events held by the UKCMRI team. More than 500 people attended.

Several changes were made to the design of the building in response to feedback including reducing the overall height of the building by locating about one third of it below street level.

The Chair of UKCMRI, Sir David Cooksey, said: "The proposed UKCMRI building has been carefully designed to meet future scientific demands and to respond to the architectural heritage of the area. In addition, we have modified the exterior, public areas and open spaces as a result of consultation.

"UKCMRI is perfectly positioned to bring together a wealth of expertise to tackle some of the biggest challenges in beating cancers, heart disease, stroke, 'flu and neurodegenerative diseases. It sits within the extraordinary cluster of medical and scientific institutions already found in Camden."

He added: "This is an unprecedented opportunity for UK science. New discoveries and technological advances have opened up countless opportunities to uncover fundamental causes of health and disease."

UKCMRI was founded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and University College London (UCL) in response to the Cooksey Review of funding arrangements for medical research. Its work will be based on the world-class research currently being carried out at the MRC’s National Institute for Medical Research, Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute, and in UCL’s laboratories. The Wellcome Trust has supported numerous innovative ventures in recent years including the Sanger Institute which sequenced a third of the human genome.

UKCMRI will be a substantial institute providing space for more than 1500 staff, including 1250 scientists from a range of disciplines. UKCMRI’s location amid the cluster of outstanding research and medical institutions in Camden, many within easy walking distance, will foster the collaborations and multidisciplinary working which are now recognised as essential for success in biomedical science.

UKCMRI will play an important national role. It will recruit from a global pool of talent, providing an opportunity for researchers to develop their careers in the UK. Through collaboration it will build extensive links throughout the UK and internationally, assisted by the excellent national and international transport links on its doorstep.