Plans revealed for Ј500 million UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation

In collaboration with the Press Association

The designs for the building which will house the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) have been unveiled.

The centre will provide a world-leading biomedical research institute in the centre of London and will provide a home for the laboratories of Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council (MRC), University College London (UCL) and the Wellcome Trust.

This unprecedented partnership will be constructed on a 3.6-acre site in the St Pancras and Somers Town area of north London and will facilitate the discovery and development of new treatments for common illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and flu.

Subject to planning approval, work is scheduled to begin in early 2011 and should be completed in late 2014 or early 2015.

The project's design process was led by medical research and scientific innovation, according to Larry Malcic, director of design at architects HOK London.

"We wanted a building that would provide the resources necessary for scientists to make life-changing biomedical discoveries at a site that is at the heart of a cluster of medical research expertise in central London," he explained.

"This building complements the local environment and is a state-of-the-art building of the type befitting a globally important project of this stature."

The UKCMRI will ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of scientific innovation and is likely to attract high-value investment, boost the economy and help to improve people's lives.

In its proposed Scientific Vision and Research Strategy, the centre revealed that it plans to use innovative inter-disciplinary approaches to shed light on the basic biological processes behind diseases such as cancer and degenerative conditions associated with ageing.

Its four key goals will be: research excellence; training and developing future scientific leaders; supporting biomedical research throughout the UK; and fostering innovation.

Professor Sir Paul Nurse, chairman of scientific planning at UKCMRI, commented: "We are one step closer to setting up this important research centre.

"UKCMRI will be the most exciting project for UK biomedical research in the next 50 years. Its ambition is immense and the promise of what can be achieved will excite and energise the global scientific community."

The professor said that both London and the UK as a whole will be "very proud" of the centre's work and that it will draw on the tradition of "ingenuity and excellence" of the city's scientists.

Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said: "We truly believe being part of UKCMRI will help accelerate our goal to beat cancer.

"UKCMRI will be one of the most important medical research projects anywhere in the world over the next 20 years. We're very excited to be part of this unique partnership. The scale of UKCMRI will enable our scientists to pursue cutting-edge research with ambitious objectives."