PM supports world-class medical research centre

In collaboration with the Press Association

The prime minister has thrown his support behind a unique £500 million medical research partnership that will see a world-class centre established in the heart of London.

Gordon Brown is backing the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), which will involve experts from Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and University College London and will be supported by the sale of government land on the former British Library site.

The centre will be located near St Pancras and is due to be ready by the end of 2013, bringing together the nation's best scientists and the latest technology in order to advance our understanding of health and disease.

Mr Brown said: "We strongly support plans to create Europe's leading centre for medical research in the heart of London.

"It will maintain Britain's position at the forefront of global medical research, strengthen the UK economy and, through its links with the NHS, has huge potential to change patients' lives."

The scientific planning of the centre will be led by the Nobel Laureate Sir Paul Nurse, president of New York's Rockefeller University and former CEO of Cancer Research UK.

Sir Paul said: "This is a visionary decision made by the government and the four funders which will create a powerhouse of biomedical research comparable to the very best in the world.

"It will provide outstanding new opportunities for interdisciplinary research and training for scientists, supporting biomedicine and healthcare throughout the UK. It is one of the most exciting ventures for UK science in a generation, and I am delighted to be leading the scientific planning process."

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "This world-class scientific collaboration will accelerate our understanding of cancer. Cancer has a huge impact on all of us - it affects one in three of the UK population - so it is important that we aim the best scientific minds at this challenge.

"Bringing together our leading research organisations in this effort will allow scientists to collaborate widely as well as share cutting-edge resources and knowledge. All of this will help to fuel the ideas and inspiration that lead to scientific breakthroughs, helping us to understand cancer better and deliver better cancer treatments.

"This project will bring together some of the best scientific minds in the world from across many disciplines and engage people through their support."