Our founders

Studying the cells that develop into blood vessels.

Studying the cells that develop into blood vessels.
© Noel Murphy

The establishment of the Francis Crick Institute has been made possible by an innovative partnership between a UK government funding agency, two charities and three leading universities.

Our founders are individually recognised for the support they provide to biomedical research and their strong track record of achievement. By joining forces and coordinating activities at the Crick, the founders are ensuring that even more will be achieved in the future.

  1. Medical Research Council

    The Medical Research Council (MRC) has been at the forefront of scientific discovery to improve human health. Founded in 1913 to tackle tuberculosis, the MRC now invests taxpayers' money in some of the best medical research in the world and across every area of health. Twenty-nine MRC-funded researchers have won Nobel prizes, and MRC scientists have been behind such diverse discoveries as vitamins, the structure of DNA, and the link between smoking and cancer. Today, MRC-funded investigators in universities, centres, units and institutes tackle some of the greatest health problems facing humanity, from chronic diseases associated with ageing to the threats posed by rapidly mutating micro-organisms.

    The MRC's largest institute, the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) became part of the Francis Crick Institute on 1 April 2015. NIMR was dedicated to studying important questions about the life processes that are relevant to all aspects of human health. Its mission was to carry out innovative high quality biomedical research; to train the next generation of medical researchers; to translate its work; and to engage the public in biomedical research.

    The MRC Centenary Timeline chronicles 100 years of life-changing discoveries: www.centenary.mrc.ac.uk.


    For over 100 years, the    Medical Research Council    has improved health by supporting the highest quality science. It has produced 31 Nobel Prize winners and funded many medical breakthroughs, including the discoveries of the human influenza virus, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today, it tackles the major health challenges of the 21st century. MRC-funded scientists have recently proved that statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) cut the risk of strokes and heart attacks and developed new tests for bowel cancer and tuberculosis.


  2. Cancer Research UK

    Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to cancer research. Its vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

    Cancer is the UK's biggest premature killer and more than one in three of us will develop cancer at some point in our lives. As the population grows and ages, the number of people diagnosed with the disease is predicted to rise steeply. But despite this, more people are beating cancer than ever before, thanks to research.

    Cancer Research UK's research is funded entirely by the public, whose donations support over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses across the UK. Several hundred of these scientists worked at Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute at  Lincoln's Inn Fields and  Clare Hall  (LRI), which became part of the Crick on 1 April 2015. The LRI had an international reputation for cancer biology research and was the source of many significant breakthroughs.

    Cancer Research UK scientists have laid the foundations for the UK's national screening programmes. The charity has contributed to some of the world's most important cancer drugs, and improved radiotherapy and surgery to help more people survive. It also lobbies government to keep cancer at the top of the political agenda and to help people spot the symptoms and reduce their risk.


    Thanks to its supporters,    Cancer Research UK's work has helped transform the way cancer is prevented, diagnosed and treated today. Survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years and Cancer Research UK's work has been at the heart of this progress. Its work is behind many important drugs such as tamoxifen and herceptin, which have saved the lives of thousands of women with breast cancer, and carboplatin - one of the most successful cancer drugs ever developed. Its groundbreaking research led to a dramatic increase in the number of people whose cancer could be cured by radiotherapy, and has influenced three national screening programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancer, which save thousands of lives each year.


  3. Wellcome Trust

    The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It was created in 1936 on the death of Sir Henry Wellcome and remains independent of both political and commercial interests. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health.

    The Wellcome Trust has made a major contribution to research over the decades, supporting the brightest minds in the biomedical sciences and the medical humanities and building world-class research environments in universities and other institutions. As well as being a founder and contributing to the cost of establishing the Francis Crick Institute, the Wellcome Trust is also supporting research within the institute.


    In 2007, the    Wellcome Trust    Case Control Consortium published the results of a £9 million study of the genetics behind common diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and coronary heart disease. The study is one of the UK's largest, most successful academic collaborations to date, bringing together 50 leading research groups and 200 scientists in the field of human genetics.


  4. UCL (University College London)

    UCL is London's global university. Founded in 1826, it is a research and teaching powerhouse, focused on the translation of research to address the world's biggest challenges.

    The UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences (SLMS) brings together four faculties to create one of the largest and most prestigious centres for life, medical, brain and population health sciences. SLMS fosters a truly multidisciplinary approach, working in close collaboration with UCL's Faculties of Maths and Physical Sciences and Engineering to respond to real world issues.

    UCL is also a founding partner of UCLPartners, an accredited academic health science system established to harness academia to improve population health, in London, nationally and beyond. Drawing together academic strengths and prestigious partner hospitals, UCLPartners' objective is to enable new discoveries in basic science to be translated into treatments more quickly; delivering proven innovation into practice at scale, both to improve patient and population health outcomes, and to generate wealth for the nation.


    UCL    scientists and clinicians have been responsible for a number of medical firsts that have changed the lives of patients. A UCL professor performed the first operation under anaesthetic in Europe in 1846, revolutionising modern surgery. In 2010, a UCL team performed a pioneering operation to replace the damaged windpipe of a young boy, using the patient's own stem cells to ensure that the donor organ was not rejected. Some 29 Nobel Prize winners, 16 in Physiology or Medicine, have come from the UCL community.


  5. Imperial College London

    Imperial College London is a science-based university with a reputation for excellence and impact that is consistently rated among the world's best.

    Imperial's research explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment, underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

    Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial's contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin and the foundations of fibre optics. Its commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to tackle climate change, and mathematical modelling to control the spread of infectious diseases.

    Imperial's partnership with Crick will provide access to bespoke research facilities, technology innovation, a multidisciplinary approach to research and training, and an entrepreneurial culture based on a strong track record in technology transfer and forging relationships with industry.

    Imperial West - a new 25 acre research and innovation district in White City, west London - and the College's Academic Health Science Centre will offer the Crick valuable opportunities for translation and collaborations with the NHS and industry.

    Imperial's translation expertise along with strengths in medical research, physical sciences and engineering will all contribute to realising the Crick's vision.


    Since its foundation in 1907,    Imperial College London    has made significant contributions to society including the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve global health.


  6. King's College London

    King's College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world (2014/15 QS World University Rankings) and among the oldest in England. King's has more than 27,600 students (of whom nearly 10,400 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and nearly 6,800 staff. King's has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) King's was ranked 6th nationally in the 'power' ranking, which takes into account both the quality and quantity of research activity, and 7th for quality according to Times Higher Education rankings.

    King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar.

    King's College London is one of the founders of King's Health Partners (KHP), the Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) formed with Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.  KHP is a pioneering global collaboration that brings together expertise in research, education and clinical practice across a wide range of disciplines to ensure rapid translation of biomedical discoveries into innovative treatments.

    King's partnership with the Crick spans our four main science and health faculties, and enables a wide range of joint initiatives from joint post-graduate research and clinical training through to research collaborations, which bring the Crick's science strategy to life. 


    King's College London    has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. More recently, scientists at King's have developed the first advanced computer programme to detect the early signs of Alzheimer's disease from a routine clinical brain scan, and pioneered a new method of diagnosing autism in adults.


  • The consortium behind the Francis Crick Institute comprises six of the world's most influential and respected scientific organisations - the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, UCL
    (University College London),
    Imperial College London and King's College London.
  • All have invested expertise and resources in this ambitious project.