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The Francis Crick Institute (formerly the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation) is a biomedical research centre in London, which opened in 2016.[1][2][3] 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.[4] The institute is planned to have 1,500 staff, including 1,250 scientists, and an annual budget of over £100 million,[5] making it the biggest single biomedical laboratory in Europe.[1]

Francis Crick Institute
Francis Crick Institute, September 2016 (29634828786).jpg
The Francis Crick Institute logo.png
Established 2007 (2007)
Type Research institute
Registration no. England and Wales: 1140062
Focus Medical research
Location
Coordinates 51°31′53″N 0°07′44″W / 51.5315°N 0.1289°W / 51.5315; -0.1289Coordinates: 51°31′53″N 0°07′44″W / 51.5315°N 0.1289°W / 51.5315; -0.1289
Chief Executive
Sir Paul Nurse
Website crick.ac.uk

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.[6]

Contents

Science programmeEdit

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:[7]

FundersEdit

The participants in the Francis Crick Institute providing funding are:[4]

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 design and constructionEdit

 
The new Francis Crick Institute building, photographed in October 2015.

The Francis Crick Institute is located in a new state-of-the-art building built next to St Pancras International railway station in the Camden area of Central London.[5] It consists of four reinforced concrete blocks up to eight storeys high plus four basement levels. The total internal floor area is 82,578m2 including 29,179m2 of laboratories with 4 km of laboratory benching and 21,839m2 of associated write up space.[8]

In July 2008 Arup Project Management, who had previously been involved in site evaluation studies, were appointed by the client UKCMRI as project manager for the Institute’s chosen location at Brill Place.[9] In August the full professional team was appointed, including architect and lead designer HOK, AKT II (structural engineer), Arup (building services engineering) and Turner & Townsend (cost managers).[10][9] In 2010 PLP Architecture was appointed to collaborate with HOK on the building’s external envelope and BMJ architects were retained as a biological research facilities consultant.[11]

Following planning approval by Camden in December 2010, Laing O'Rourke was appointed as main contractor in March 2011.[12][13]

Construction began in July 2011 and reached practical completion on time and within budget in August 2016,[8] with researchers starting work in the new building in September.[2][5][14]

The construction cost was £465 million [11] and including fit-out of the building the capital cost of the project has been approximately £700 million.[15] When it is fully occupied and operational, in early 2017, the Francis Crick Institute will employ 1500 staff, including 1250 scientists, and have an operating budget of approximately £130 million a year.[16]

As well as state of the art scientific equipment, much of it extremely sensitive to vibration and electromagnetic emissions, and requiring advanced methods of air handling,[17] over a third of the building is given over to plant rooms and services distribution.[8] The facility incorporates a combined heat and power plant in order to provide low-carbon onsite power.[18] Solar panels installed in the roof provide extra renewable power and all light fittings are energy-efficient.[19] The roof also hides the heating and cooling units. A third of the building is below ground-level to reduce its visible size and provide further protection to sensitive equipment.[8]

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.[20] The institute also includes a public exhibition/gallery space, an educational space, a 450-seat auditorium and a community facility.[21]

Organisation, leadership and governanceEdit

 
Sir Paul Nurse FRS, Director, now Chief Executive, of the institute since 2011

As of 2016 The Crick is led by a Board of directors, an executive committee and associate research directors. The board of directors is chaired by Sir David Cooksey and includes Maggie Dallman, Peter Gruss, Lynne Gailey, Sir Harpal Kumar, Lord Willetts, David Lomas, Chris Mottershead, Philip Yea, Jeremy Farrar and Doreen Cantrell.[22]

As of 2016 the executive committee of the Crick is staffed by Paul Nurse, (Chief Executive) and includes David Roblin, Chief Operating Officer, Sir Jim Smith, Director of Research, Sir 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.[23]

The associate research directors are Anne O'Garra, Julian Downward and John Diffley.[24]

HistoryEdit

 
Francis Crick, who with James Watson created the first double- helix model of DNA and is a "father of modern genetics"

In 2003 the Medical Research Council decided that its National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) would need to relocate from Mill Hill. A Task Force, one of whose external members was Sir Paul Nurse, was established to consider options.[25] Sites eventually rejected included Addenbrooke's[25] and the National Temperance Hospital.[26]

On 11 February 2005 it was announced that NIMR would relocate to UCL,[27] but this was dependent on funding from the government’s Large Facilities Capital Fund and did not proceed.[28]

In December 2006 the Cooksey Review, commissioned by the Chancellor Gordon Brown in March, was published. It assessed the strategic priorities of UK health research, highlighting in particular the importance of translating basic research into health and economic benefits.[29]

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.[30][31] On 13 June 2008 the 3.5 acre eventual site on Brill Place was bought for UKCMRI for £85m, of which £46.75 was provided by MRC.[32]

On 15 July 2010 it was announced that Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse would be the first Director and Chief Executive of the UKCMRI.[33] He took up his post on 1 January 2011.[34] On 20 October 2010 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, confirmed that the British Government would be contributing £220 million over four years towards the capital cost of the Centre.[35] 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.[36] On 14 December 2010 Camden Council granted the planning approval for the scheme which had been submitted on 1 September.[37][38]

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.[4] 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.[39] In July 2011 the UKCMRI was renamed the Francis Crick Institute.[39] 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.[40]

On 6 June 2013 a topping out ceremony was held, the Institute’s science strategy was announced and a £3 million grant from the Wolfson Foundation was confirmed.[41][42][43]

In July 2015 GlaxoSmithKline was announced as the institute's first commercial partner. The deal involves contribution of resources and personnel to joint projects.[44][45] 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.[46]

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.[47] On 1 March 2016 Professor Tim Bliss, from the Crick, and Professors Graham Collingridge (University of Bristol) and Richard Morris (University of Edinburgh) were awarded The Brain Prize.[48] In mid August 2016 construction work finished and the building was handed over. The first scientists moved in on 1 September.[49] On 9 November 2016 the Francis Crick Institute was officially opened by HM The Queen, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Duke of York. During the visit a portrait of Francis Crick by Robert Ballagh was unveiled.[50][51] As part of her tour, The Queen started the sequencing of the genome of the Crick’s Director, Sir Paul Nurse – all three billion letters in his DNA code.[52]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Jha, Alok (19 June 2010). "Plans for largest biomedical research facility in Europe unveiled". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "The new building | The Francis Crick Institute". The Francis Crick Institute. Retrieved 2015-10-31. 
  3. ^ Walsh, Fergus (1 September 2016). "The Crick: Europe's biggest biomedical lab opens". BBC News. 
  4. ^ a b c "Three's company: Imperial, King's join UCL in £700m medical project". Times Higher Education. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Project Press Release". UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation web site. 21 June 2010. Archived from the original on 11 September 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Callaway, Ewen (2015). "Europe's superlab: Sir Paul's cathedral". Nature. 522 (7557): 406–408. doi:10.1038/522406a. PMID 26108834. 
  7. ^ https://www.crick.ac.uk/strategy/science-programme/
  8. ^ a b c d "The Francis Crick Institute, London". Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Berry, Steve. "Engineering DNA" (PDF). CIBSE Journal (September 2014): 24–28. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  10. ^ "UCL in partnership". UCL Annual Review: 5. 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Bevan, Robert (24 May 2016). "Francis Crick Institute by HOK with PLP". Architects' Journal online. Retrieved 20 October 2016. (subscription required)
  12. ^ O’Rourke wins prized £350m superlab contract Construction Enquirer, 2 March 2011
  13. ^ "Laing O'Rourke to be UKCMRI main contractor". Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  14. ^ "Science begins in the new Francis Crick Institute building". The Francis Crick Institute. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  15. ^ Matthews, David (26 November 2015). "The Francis Crick Institute: science and serendipity". THES. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  16. ^ "About us". Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  17. ^ Ferguson, Hugh; Berry, Steve; Partridge, Rob (June 2016). "Francis Crick Institute, London". Ingenia online (67). Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  18. ^ Francis Crick Institute CHP Plant, www.clarke-energy.com, retrieved 07/07/2014
  19. ^ https://www.crick.ac.uk/the-new-building/environment/
  20. ^ https://www.crick.ac.uk/the-new-building/architecture/
  21. ^ https://www.crick.ac.uk/the-new-building/faqs/
  22. ^ Anon (2016). "Board members". crick.ac.uk. London: Francis Crick Institute. Archived from the original on 2015-09-19. 
  23. ^ Anon (2016). "Executive committee". crick.ac.uk. London: Francis Crick Institute. Archived from the original on 2016-06-14. 
  24. ^ Anon (2016). "Associate Research Directors". crick.ac.uk. London: Francis Crick Institute. Archived from the original on 2015-06-11. 
  25. ^ a b "The Medical Research Council's Review of the Future of the National Institute for Medical Research" (PDF). House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  26. ^ "National Institute for Medical Research". House of Commons Hansard. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  27. ^ "UCL wins lucrative research contract". The Guardian. 11 February 2005. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  28. ^ "Responses to the Committee's Fourth Report of Session 2004–05" (PDF). House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  29. ^ Cooksey, Sir David. "A review of UK health research funding" (PDF). Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  30. ^ "Deal secures £500m medical centre". BBC News. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  31. ^ "London to lead in medical research". The Telegraph. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  32. ^ "Written evidence UK Centre for Medical Research & Innovation (UKCMRI)" (PDF). House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  33. ^ "Project Press Release". UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation web site. 15 July 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  34. ^ "Sir Paul Nurse: Nobel prize-winner Britain's 'most important' scientist". The Telegraph. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  35. ^ Davies, Katie (20 October 2010). "King's Cross super-lab UKCMRI gets go-ahead". Ham & High. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  36. ^ "Green light for £600m medical research centre in London". Construction News. 11 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  37. ^ "Plans approved for visionary institute". Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  38. ^ "UKCMRI gets planning permission" (PDF). Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  39. ^ a b "A new name for UKCMRI". UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation web site. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  40. ^ e-mail from Mike Crick to Martin Packer 25 October 2011
  41. ^ "Strategy launched at Crick Topping Out Ceremony". Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  42. ^ "Crick Topping Out Ceremony June 2013". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  43. ^ "Francis Crick Institute receives £3 million grant". Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  44. ^ Ward, Andrew (14 July 2015). "UK's new biomedical research centre teams up with industry". Financial Times. 
  45. ^ Hirschler, Ben; Char, Pravin. "GSK first drugmaker to tie up with new Crick institute". Reuters. 
  46. ^ The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015, Press Release
  47. ^ http://www.wallpaper.com/art/conrad-shawcross-unveils-imposing-new-sculpture-for-francis-crick-institute
  48. ^ http://www.thebrainprize.org/flx/prize_winners/prize_winners_2016/
  49. ^ "Building work finishes at the Francis Crick Institute". Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  50. ^ "Queen and Duke of Edinburgh open the Francis Crick Institute". Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  51. ^ Kennedy, Maev (8 June 2016). "Francis Crick portrait unveiled to honour breakthrough DNA work". Guardian online. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  52. ^ Gallagher, Laura. "The Queen opens the Francis Crick Institute - Europe's biggest biomedical lab". Retrieved 17 January 2017. 

External linksEdit