King's joins scientific powerhouse
Posted on 12/10/2011
King’s College London and Imperial College London have now formally joined the partnership behind The Francis Crick Institute. The two universities have become part of the project to create the world-leading medical research institute in central London, founded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and UCL (University College London).
The Institute will have a distinctive vision of how medical and scientific research will be conducted. Its work will focus on understanding the underlying causes of health and disease and accelerating discoveries made in the laboratory into the clinic.
The partnership was made official at a signing ceremony, which followed the burial of a time capsule at the site of the Institute at St Pancras and Somers Town in London. The event was witnessed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the science minister David Willetts MP, and the Director and Chief Executive of The Francis Crick Institute Sir Paul Nurse. Francis Crick’s daughter Gabrielle, accompanied by several members of the Crick family, buried the time capsule.
Time capsule burial
The brass capsule, placed 12 metres under the foundations of the Institute, is not expected to be unearthed for decades to come. It contains significant items from King's, including a copy of Rosalind Franklin's 'photo 51', which led to the discovery of DNA, and a message from Ray Gosling. These sit alongside letters from other world-leading scientists, local children’s artwork (from St Mary and St Pancras School and Hampden Youth Club), architects’ sketchbooks, two biographies of Francis Crick – including David Willetts’ personal copy of Matt Ridley’s book – as well as photographs and memorabilia.
David Willetts, the Universities and Science Minister said: 'The UK has a proud record of scientific achievement built on the work of great institutions like those involved in The Francis Crick Institute. It’s been a great honour to contribute to the time capsule being buried today. The Institute will maintain our country’s leading position in biomedical research and help translate the findings into benefits for patients and the economy.'
The Director and Chief Executive of The Francis Crick Institute, Sir Paul Nurse, said: 'This is a symbolic moment. In this time capsule, we are making clear our aspirations for the Institute to future generations who will be the final judges on whether we have succeeded in this extraordinary endeavour. With the accession of Imperial and King's to the partnership, we will have an opportunity to work with many of the best scientists and clinicians in the world. We hope that together they will improve lives and help deliver the innovations that will bring long-lasting benefits to the economy and people's health.'
King’s formally joins partnership
Once the time capsule was buried on the site, King’s and Imperial formally joined the partnership at a ceremony at the Wellcome Trust's offices in London.
The Principal of King’s College London Professor Sir Rick Trainor said: 'King’s is delighted to play a key role in this world-leading Institute, bringing experts from a wide range of disciplines to work collaboratively under one roof.
'King’s has an excellent track record in bringing scientists and clinicians together to translate research into innovative treatments as quickly as possible. Our expertise will strengthen further the Institute’s ability to bring basic and applied science together with clinical knowledge, to benefit patients across the UK as well as society as a whole.'
The chairman of The Francis Crick Institute, Sir David Cooksey said: 'King's College London and Imperial College London have extraordinary clinical and scientific skills which will help to foster new ideas and will bring enormous value to the partnership. The Institute will become a national asset - working with universities, institutes and hospitals, connecting scientists from different disciplines with clinicians and industry to bring health and economic benefits to the UK and beyond.'
Sir Keith O’Nions, the Rector of Imperial College London, said: 'The Francis Crick Institute will bring an unparalleled level of science and engineering research to bear on the diseases and health issues the world now faces. This is an exciting venture for Imperial, for London and for UK science, and we are delighted to be signing the agreement today.'
Notes to editors:
The Francis Crick Institute will be a world-leading centre of biomedical research and innovation. It will promote connections between researchers, between disciplines, and between academic institutions, healthcare organisations and businesses. Dedicated to research excellence, the institute will have the scale, vision and expertise to tackle the most challenging scientific questions underpinning health and disease.
Due to open in 2015, The Francis Crick Institute is a charity supported by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King’s College London. It will be world-class with a strong national role – training scientists and developing ideas for public good.
The institute will initially build on the complementary skills and research interests of two of the founders' research institutes, the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute (LRI), together with scientists from UCL, Imperial and King’s focusing on physics, computing, engineering, imaging and chemistry. www.crick.ac.uk.
For more information on King's, see our 'King's in Brief' page.
* Photo shows representatives from all partners at the signing ceremony.