The brand new £650m Crick Institute in London is the new showpiece of British bio-science, and the largest Biomedical centre under a single roof in Europe.
Researchers have already begun moving in to the centre, which will have 1000 scientists and 250 support staff by the end of 2016, with plans to recruit a further 250 scientists.
Sit Paul Nurse is the institutes director, and spoke to the first outside visitors to the site last week. He said, We see the Crick as an international beacon for UK science, attracting researchers from around the world. The discoveries we make here will establish our place at the forefront of science.
The Crick is next to the British Library and St Pancras Station, and is one of the most complex buildings in London. It was designed by HOK and PLP Architecture, and was built by Laing OâRourke â coming in within budget, but several months behind schedule.
It comprises a million square feet of floorspace over 12 floors, eight above ground and four below, and is 170m long. It is designed to be as transparent as possible with has individual labs and offices opening out onto two huge intersecting atria. The roof is curved, to fit in with the local cityscape.
According to Sir Paul, both the building design and the administrative structure within the Crick are intended to create constructive scientific anarchy. The Crick has no departments, instead having 120 individual research groups, each with around 100 scientists, and the open working areas, walkways, and stairs are designed to nudge people from different labs into collaboration.
Three labs around London, the Mill Hill facility of the Medical Research Council, and the Cancer Research UK labs at Clare Hall and Lincolnâs Inn Fields are to close as the Crick opens, with their scientists moving to the Crick as the first 1000.
MRC and Cancer Research UK will be funding most of the Crickâs £130m a year running costs, as well as smaller contributions from the Wellcome Trust, and from three universities within the city which will be partnering with the Institute; Imperial, Kingâs, and University College London. New staff will be drawn from these Universities, as well as from an international recruitment drive starting in the autumn.