Francis Crick Institute
|Registration no.||England and Wales: 1140062|
The Francis Crick Institute (formerly the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation) is a biomedical research centre currently under construction in London, United Kingdom that opened in 2016. The institute is a partnership between Cancer Research UK, Imperial College London, King's College London (KCL), the Medical Research Council, University College London (UCL) and the Wellcome Trust. The institute is planned to have 1,500 staff, including 1,250 scientists, and an annual budget of over £100 million, making it the biggest single biomedical laboratory in Europe.
The institute is named after the British molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins. Unofficially, the Crick has been called Sir Paul's Cathedral, a reference to Sir Paul Nurse and St Paul's Cathedral in London.
The institute defines its research programme as exploring "seven high-level science questions reflecting both major issues of interest in biomedical research and the current research strategies of its six founders". According to the institute, these questions are:
- How does a living organism acquire form and function?
- How do organisms maintain health and balance throughout life and as they age?
- How can we use biological knowledge to better understand, diagnose and treat human disease?
- How does cancer start, spread and respond to therapy?
- How does the immune system know whether, when and how to react?
- How do microbes and pathogens function and interact with their hosts?
- How does the nervous system detect, store and respond to information and retain that information throughout life?
The participants in the Francis Crick Institute providing funding are:
|Medical Research Council||£300 million||including incorporating their National Institute for Medical Research|
|Cancer Research UK||£160 million||including incorporating their London Research Institute|
|Wellcome Trust||£120 million|
|University College London (UCL)||£40 million|
|Imperial College London||£40 million|
|King's College London (KCL)||£40 million|
Building and architecture
The Francis Crick Institute will be located in a new state-of-the-art 79,000 square metre building being built next to St Pancras International railway station in the Camden area of Central London. The building was designed by HOK with PLP Architecture. Construction began in July 2011, with researchers expected to be able to start work in the new building in the summer of 2016. Construction and fit-out of the building is budgeted at approximately £660 million. Laing O'Rourke are carrying out the construction work. The facility will incorporate a combined heat and power plant in order to provide low-carbon onsite power. Solar panels installed in the roof provide extra renewable power and all light fittings will be energy-efficient. The roof also hides the heating and cooling units. A third of the building is below ground-level to reduce its visible size.
Labs within the building are arranged over four floors, made up of four interconnected blocks, designed to encourage interaction between scientists working in different research fields.
The institute also includes a public exhibition/gallery space, an educational space, a 450-seat auditorium and a community facility.
Organisation, leadership and governance
As of 2016[update] The Crick is led by a Board of directors, an executive committee and associate research directors. The board of directors is chaired by David Cooksey and includes Maggie Dallman, Peter Gruss, Lynne Gailey, Sir Harpal Kumar, David Willetts, David Lomas, Chris Mottershead, Philip Yea, Jeremy Farrar and Doreen Cantrell.
As of 2016[update] the executive committee of the Crick is staffed by Paul Nurse, (Chief Executive) and includes David Roblin, Chief Operating Officer, Jim Smith, Director of Research, Richard Treisman, Director of Research, Nick Carter, Melanie Chatfield, Ruth Collier, John Cooper, Alison Davis, Steven J. Gamblin, Malcolm Irving, John Macey, Stephane Maikovsky, Katie Matthews, Sir Keith Peters, Geraint Rees and Jonathan Weber.
The Francis Crick Institute is a registered charity in England and Wales no. 1140062 and a company registered in England and Wales no.06885462, with its registered office at 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE.
In February 2005, it was announced that the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research would relocate to UCL. The creation of the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) was announced by the then British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, on 5 December 2007.
On 20 October 2010, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, confirmed that the British Government would be contributing £200 million towards the capital cost of the Centre. On 11 November 2010 Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, UCL and the Wellcome Trust signed an agreement to establish the UKCMRI as a charitable foundation, subject to the agreement of the Charity Commission.
On 15 April 2011, it was announced that Imperial College London and King's College London would be joining the UKCMRI as partners and that both had signed a memorandum of understanding to commit £40 million each to the project. On 25 May 2011, it was announced that the UKCMRI would be renamed the Francis Crick Institute in July to coincide with ground being broken on the construction of its building, in honour of the British scientist Francis Crick.
In July 2011, the UKCMRI was renamed the Francis Crick Institute.
A dedication ceremony for the new building was held on 11 October 2011, attended by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, David Willetts MP and Sir Paul Nurse. Francis Crick's surviving daughter Gabrielle (by his second marriage) gave a short speech while his son Mike (by his first marriage) donated Crick's California licence plate "AT GC" into a time capsule buried during the ceremony.
On 7 October 2015, Tomas Lindahl, Emeritus group leader at the Francis Crick Institute and Emeritus director of Cancer Research UK at Clare Hall Laboratory, Hertfordshire, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar.
On 24 February 2016, ‘Paradigm’, a 14-metre high sculpture made of weathered steel and designed by the British artist Conrad Shawcross, was installed outside the institute. It is one of the largest public sculptures in London.
The Brain Prize, awarded by the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation in Denmark, is worth one million Euros. Awarded annually, it recognises one or more scientists who have distinguished themselves by an outstanding contribution to European neuroscience and who are still active in research.
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- Architecture | The Francis Crick Institute
- MRClife November 2013
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- The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015, Press Release