The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) - a charitable medical research institute at St Pancras in central London - has appointed Laing O'Rourke as its main contractor.
Plans for the proposed institute were approved by the London Borough of Camden at a meeting in December and agreed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in January. Construction work is expected to begin on the site in late Spring.
The pioneering laboratories will become a world class facility for medical research with 1,500 staff, strengthening the UK's reputation as a centre for excellence for medical science and helping to maintain the country's competitiveness in science and healthcare.
The institute is being built within the exceptional cluster of biomedical research already carried out in Camden. It will bring together biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians with some of the UK's leading hospitals to focus in new ways on understanding the underlying causes of health and disease.
The UKCMRI charity has been founded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and UCL (University College London).
The institute will combine scientists from Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute at Lincoln's Inn Fields and Clare Hall in Hertfordshire, the MRC's National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill, and UCL.
UKCMRI's Chief Executive, Sir Paul Nurse said: "This extraordinary development will play a key role in understanding and tackling diseases that affect people across the UK. It is a complex building designed to promote creative and collaborative research to study these problems."
UKCMRI's Construction Director Andy Smith added: "After a lengthy and detailed evaluation process, Laing O'Rourke was chosen as the main contractor for the development of UKCMRI. The Laing O'Rourke bid scored the highest technically and commercially of the tenders received and represented the best value for money. Laing O'Rourke has a superb track record in delivering such complicated projects. We are very pleased to be working with them."
Commenting on the appointment, Roger Robinson, Chief Executive of Laing O'Rourke's Europe hub, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to deliver this transformational project in the heart of central London. We look forward to working with UKCMRI to deliver a state-of-the-art medical research facility that will drive advances in the prevention and treatment of diseases.
"The Laing O'Rourke team has the right blend of technical expertise and construction resources required to ensure delivery of such a world-class project. Our comprehensive understanding of the local issues and commitment to the key stakeholders involved will be instrumental in meeting this complex engineering challenge."
UKCMRI and Laing O'Rourke are creating a community liaison group to meet monthly to ensure the views of local people on the building process are heard and to ensure residents are kept up-to-date on the progress of the development.
Sir Paul Nurse said: "We are determined this institute will be a good neighbour to local people. Over the last three years we have had an ongoing programme of community consultation which will continue as building work begins. UKCMRI has agreed with the Council a package of benefits for local people worth around £10million - with initiatives to improve health and homes, employment and education, community safety and the environment."
The package includes:
- £1.7 million to improve local council housing through Camden's Better Homes programme,
- £3.8 million towards a new district energy centre to supply cheaper heat and power to local people,
- a 4850ft² (450m²) community Living Centre run in partnership with local people to improve health and well-being,
- training and employing at least 40 apprentices while the institute is being built,
- apprenticeships within the institute,
- a local business support strategy - to help local businesses win contracts for the institute's goods and services,
- funding for community policing and safety measures,
- a teaching laboratory for young people with priority access for local schools,
- an education programme and volunteering scheme including an education officer,
- an ambitious public engagement with science programme,
- a 450-seat auditorium and exhibition area available for local organisations to use,
- enhancements to public open spaces,
- a new pathway for pedestrians and cyclists linking St Pancras International to Ossulston Street running between the institute and the British Library.