Research leaders have announced their strategy for the Francis Crick Institute, a new scientific centre that includes Imperial as a founding partner
The strategy was unveiled by Sir Paul Nurse, Director of the Francis Crick Institute and a Nobel prize winning scientist, at a ceremony attended by senior government ministers and heads of the Crick's partners, including Imperial's Rector & President Sir Keith O'Nions.
The announcement today coincides with the topping out ceremony for the institute, this is a milestone in the construction process that celebrates the building reaching its highest point. The institute is due to open in 2015, when it will house 1,500 leading researchers and support staff.
Scientists at the Crick will carry out biomedical research to help better understand why disease develops and to find new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat a range of illnesses - such as cancer, heart disease and stroke, infections and neurodegenerative diseases.
The institute will bring together scientists from all disciplines - including clinical research, physical and engineering sciences - carrying out work that will help improve the health and quality of people's lives, and keep the UK at the forefront of medical innovation.
The opportunities that lie ahead to improve health are unparalleled and collectively we will help the UK remain globally competitive in efforts to tackle the 21st Century's global health issues and diseases.
– Sir Keith O'Nions
Rector & President of Imperial
The Crick is a partnership between the UK's three largest funders of biomedical research: the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust, and three leading universities: Imperial, UCL and King's College London.
Sir Paul Nurse said: "From the outset, the Francis Crick Institute has been an unprecedented collaboration between the UK's leading medical research organisations, academic institutions and industry. As we mark this important milestone in the construction of the institute, I wanted to clearly set out the Crick's strategic priorities, as well as high level directions for the science that will be conducted.
"Our uncompromising commitment to excellence, our emphasis on multi-disciplinary research, our focus on young and emerging talent, our novel ways of partnership working, and our plans to export our best people to other institutions across the UK, are some of the factors that will set the Crick apart."
Sir Keith O'Nions, President & Rector of Imperial College London, said: "We are delighted to be here at the topping out of the institute building, witnessing the start of an exciting new chapter for research and medical innovation. The opportunities that lie ahead to improve health are unparalleled and collectively we will help the UK remain globally competitive in efforts to tackle the 21st Century's global health issues and diseases.
"Imperial's Academic Health Science Centre and the Research and Translation Hub to be built at Imperial West will offer the Crick valuable opportunities for translation and collaborations with the NHS and industry. Alongside these initiatives, we look forward to contributing from Imperial's strengths in medical research, physical sciences and engineering in order to realise the Crick's vision and strategy."
The Francis Crick Institute will be the jewel in the crown of UK medical research
– David Willetts MP
Minister for Universities and Science
Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "The Francis Crick Institute will be game-changing for medical research. Millions of people – including cancer patients, but also those suffering from a range of diseases such as heart and neurodegenerative disease – will benefit from its pioneering approaches. Scientists will work together across many different areas to make rapid progress in our understanding of these diseases, which will help us to treat them more effectively in the future. The Crick is also a unique opportunity for people to invest in one of the most exciting catalysts of scientific innovation we'll see in this generation."
Dr Ted Bianco, Acting Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "The Francis Crick Institute highlights what makes medical research in Britain so strong: significant funding from both the government and charities, emerging and established talent from leading institutions, and opportunities for discoveries to be translated rapidly into new treatments through the NHS. Its scientific strategy should ensure that is capitalises on all of these factors and quickly establishes itself as one of our most innovative and world-leading new research centres."
Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP, said: "The Francis Crick Institute will be the jewel in the crown of UK medical research. Not only will it provide cutting edge facilities and develop world-class talent, but it will encourage collaboration between different disciplines, undoubtedly leading to scientific breakthroughs. It will keep Britain ahead in the global race to find innovative new treatments, benefitting patients and driving growth."
The Crick's new building, designed by architects HOK with PLP Architecture, and constructed by Laing O'Rourke, the UK's largest private engineering and construction company.
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