As reported on the Times Online website, Gordon Brown has announced that a state-of-the-art laboratory complex based in London has won £250 million of public funding. The laboratory, named the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation will lead British medical research and is backed by Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and University College London.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) has already invested £47 million in the project and it is said that it will be one of the largest of its kind when it opens in 2015.
The new complex will be the new home for the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and the World Influenza Centre, and will bring together 1, 250 scientists to study fundamental human biology and turn their discoveries into new therapies for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Speaking of the project, Mr Brown stated,
“There is nothing more important for the future of our society and economy than what we are setting in motion today,” he told an audience of senior scientists today.
“I believe that the project will transform lives, will make for a stronger economy that will put us right in the forefront of research around the world, and will give people a huge amount of hope about the future.”
Sir Paul Nurse, the Nobel prize-winning scientist who chairs the centre’s steering committee, said that the project should be secure regardless of the result of the election. “The truth is it is such a good idea it would be inconceivable whatever the colour of the incoming government not to fund it,” he said. “There have been informal conversations and I believe all three parties have indicated their general support.”
Should Labour win the election, Mr Brown has said that he plans to appoint a Minister for the Life Sciences. This new minister would be responsible for co-coordinating biomedical research across government and for helping scientist to commercialise their work.