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The Francis Crick Institute logoWe published our Annual Review today. In it, you can read about our life-saving work and the progress we’ve made over the past 12 months. We’ve selected our highlights from the report and will be publishing them over the next few days.

In the first of this series of articles, we’ve picked out an interview with Sir Paul Nurse, Chief Executive of the The Francis Crick Institute, a new world-class research institute in the UK that we’re helping to create.

You have called The Francis Crick Institute the most significant development in British biomedical science for a generation. Does it deserve this accolade?

I think it does. Our purpose for the institute is: ‘understanding life for the benefit of humanity’. It will bring together the best scientists in the world working in many fields of research and establish close links with clinicians, healthcare organisations and industry.

The institute will have the vision and expertise to tackle some of the most challenging scientific questions underpinning human health, helping us to understand and beat diseases that affect everyone, such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. We believe it will become one of the leading biomedical research institutes in the world.

The Franci Crick Institute

The institute will become one of the leading biomedical research institutes in the world (click to enlarge)

Whose initiative is this?

The Francis Crick Institute has been founded by four of the world’s leading medical research organisations: Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and University College London.

What’s Cancer Research UK’s involvement?

Cancer Research UK has committed £160 million towards the creation of the institute. It will house scientists from their London Research Institute alongside those from other partners – cancer will be a priority.

What progress has been made in 2010/11?

Planning permission has been granted and The Francis Crick Institute has published its scientific vision. In addition, the UK government has pledged £315 million of funding through the Medical Research Council to set up the institute.

It’s been hailed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Why?

With the benefits of new and powerful technology, whole new fields of science have opened up. We’re creating a culture of multi-disciplinary teams working together, combining biology, medicine, physics and mathematics to solve the incredibly complex challenges we face.

This is an unmissable opportunity to bring together accomplished and imaginative scientists, and give them access to state-of-the-art facilities. Bringing scientists from different disciplines together under one roof will encourage innovative thinking and new ways of working. This will help spark new ideas to unravel the mysteries behind the major diseases that humanity faces.

A scientific collaboration of this unprecedented scale will deliver much more in terms of patient benefit and more than we could achieve on our own. And as a result we will see life-saving discoveries being made quicker than ever before.

This is a huge step towards Cancer Research UK’s vision of beating cancer.

Olly Childs

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