This autumn sees the opening of the Crick Institute, the largest biomedical research institution under one roof in Europe. Costing £650 million, the Institute boasts a floor space equivalent to 17 football pitches, and 4km of laboratory benching, to house 1,600 scientists and support staff.

It will conduct research into the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of neurodegenerative conditions, cancer, heart disease, infections and stroke.

The Crick was established partly in response to a 2006 government review which concluded that the country was “at risk of failing to reap the full economic, health and social benefits that the UK’s public investment in health research should generate”, and called for increased collaboration between funders and greater innovation in biomedical research. The Crick is a consortium of six of the UK’s most successful scientific and academic organisations – the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, University College London, Imperial College London, and King’s College London. The Universities will house researchers at the Crick and give the institute access to their associated hospitals. The idea is that by combining specialist knowledge, expertise and resources from each of these organisations, the Crick Institute will undertake ground-breaking research across a range of scientific disciplines and help laboratory discoveries to be turned into treatments as quickly as possible.

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