Plans to build a world-leading medical research institute at St Pancras in London have been approved by councillors at Camden Town Hall. The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), designed by the architects HOK with PLP Architecture, will have 1,500 staff including 1,250 scientists.
UKCMRI is founded by four of the world's leading research organisations: the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and UCL (University College London).
The members of the Development Control Committee voted in favour of the £500 million project at a meeting at the Town Hall.
The Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar outlined the benefits of the project to the councillors. Afterwards he welcomed their decision to approve the scheme:
"The councillors have brought this institute significantly closer to reality. It will help to tackle some of the most difficult scientific and medical questions - bringing benefits to health and helping us to treat and beat diseases that affect us all - including cancers, heart disease and stroke, infections and diseases of the immune and nervous systems. It will bring benefits to health and be a national resource for the training and development of scientists. It will engage the public in its work and will provide educational benefits to schools locally and nationally."
The chairman of UKCMRI, Sir David Cooksey was delighted by the councillors' decision: "UKCMRI will harness the talent and potential of doctors, nurses, biologists, mathematicians, physicists, chemists, computer scientists and engineers to understand the underlying causes of disease. This will accelerate our ability to treat disease - bringing benefits to patients through the NHS and to the economy by developing a sector in which the UK already excels."
In October, the Government gave its commitment to UKCMRI by confirming its investment in the project through the Medical Research Council. Over half the funds are being contributed by Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and UCL. The Prime Minister David Cameron announced that UKCMRI would play a central role in the Government's National Infrastructure Plan to ensure the UK remains a world leader in science and research.
The construction of UKCMRI is expected to begin in the Spring with completion in 2015.