First scientists move into £650m Francis Crick Institute

Posted on 2 Sep 2016 by Jonny Williamson

The first scientists are moving in and beginning to work in The Francis Crick Institute – a new £650m world-leading medical research centre in Central London.

Backed by £350m of government investment, the new Francis Crick Institute will support 1,250 scientists in investigating and understanding biological processes that could lead to pioneering drugs and treatments for illnesses such as cancer, stroke and motor neurone disease.

Named after Sir Francis Crick – the British scientist jointly responsible for the discovery of the double helix in human DNA, it is the biggest biomedical research institute under one roof in Europe and will help ensure the UK continues to lead the world in medical discovery and scientific endeavour.

BEIS - Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark.
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark explained: “Since the discovery of penicillin, UK scientists have led the way in pioneering scientific and medical breakthroughs that have changed and improved the lives of patients and their families around the world.

“Our investment in The Francis Crick Institute will ensure the UK continues to harness the strength of our world-leading research base to improve lives, creates businesses and jobs, and drive economic growth across the UK.”

Science Minister Jo Johnson commented: “The Francis Crick Institute is another jewel in the UK’s crown as a knowledge economy, and will help strengthen our position as the partner of choice for researchers around the world.

“Attracting the best talent, the institute will help turn the discoveries in the labs into life-saving treatments for patients in the clinics.”

Covering 1 million sq ft of floor space, the 170m long building provides scientists with the most sensitive and advanced research equipment – such as the electron microscopy that allows the most detailed studies of biological structures.

With science in the 21st century requiring greater collaboration across disciplines than ever before, the Institute has been specifically designed to encourage scientists from different teams to work together.

Around 250 staff will support the 1,250 scientists who are coming from the recent merger between the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research and Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute, as well as UCL, Imperial and King’s; with everybody expected to be in the building by early 2017.