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King's College, Imperial College Join London's UKCMRI

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Kings College London and Imperial College London have signed on to serve as partners with the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), an institute scheduled to open in 2015 that will harness the resources of several major public and private biomedical science institutes, UKCMRI said yesterday.

King's College and Imperial College have signed a memorandum of understanding to contribute £40 million ($65.4 million) each to the institute, joining four other partners that have already pledge a total of £620 million to fund the London research center.

UKCMRI, which will be based on 3.6 acres in North London, was started by founding partners Medical Research Council UK's National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute (LRI), who have been joined by The Wellcome Trust and University College London, in addition to the new partners announced Thursday.

UKCMRI will focus on research into major diseases, including cancers, heart disease, and stroke, infectious diseases, and immune system disorders. The research center will bring together a staff of 1,500 interdisciplinary scientists, including biologists, chemists, engineers, computer scientists, and mathematicians.

UKCMRI has also said genomics and other technologies will be applied toward its four key goals: research excellence, supporting the UK's biomedical research effort, recruiting and training researchers, and fostering translation of discoveries into new treatments against disease.

Construction on the UKCMRI campus is expected to start in late spring of this year, and a two-year building period will be followed by two years of outfitting the institute and commissioning. The new institute gained approval in December to begin construction on its campus, even though there has been some local opposition to its location.

"The involvement of Imperial and King's in the UKCMRI partnership offers the institute even greater scale and breadth of knowledge," UKCMRI Director and Chief Executive Paul Nurse said in a statement. "It helps to enhance the opportunities for connections, creativity and discovery. This institute will not only carry out the highest quality biomedical research, it will also act to support the entire research endeavor in the UK."

"The addition of Imperial and King's will broaden the interdisciplinary capability of the partnership which presents an unmatched opportunity to tackle some of the most intractable research questions, bring patient benefit and induce great benefits to the UK's economy," added UKCMRI Chairman David Cooksey.

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