UKCMRI to be renamed The Francis Crick Institute

In collaboration with Adfero

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), a world-class biomedical research institute planned for central London, is to be re-named The Francis Crick Institute in honour of one of the nation's greatest scientists.

Construction work on the institute will formally start in early July and the change of name will coincide with this milestone.

Professor Crick, who lived from 1916 to 2004, is best known for the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953, alongside James Watson and collaborator Maurice Wilkins.

The trio were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for their work on "the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material".

His name will be adopted as the permanent name of the UKCMRI, reflecting the centre's vision to create a world-leading facility for medical science and innovation in London's St Pancras.

The institute will initially build on the skills and research institutes of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute (LRI). University College London and the Wellcome Trust are founding partners and King's College London and Imperial College London have signalled their intention to join the partnership.

As well as driving the development of treatments and methods for the prevention of cancer, the Francis Crick Institute will also have research programmes on circulatory conditions, infectious diseases, immune system disorders, and neurodegeneration and regeneration.

Commenting on the forthcoming name change, UKCMRI director and chief executive Paul Nurse said: "Francis Crick was a superb British scientist. He embodied the qualities of collaboration, creativity and tenacity we would like to instil within the culture of the institute to be named for him.

"Francis Crick led a revolution in biology and medicine, was noted for his intelligence, openness to new ideas, for switching disciplines from physics to biology, and his collaborations - not least with James Watson, Maurice Wilkins and, later, Sydney Brenner."

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "The Francis Crick Institute will be the leading biomedical research centre in Europe. It will ensure we have the best possible chance to beat cancer faster and more efficiently than ever before."