The United Kingdom Centre for Medical Research and Innovation

New Scientist reports on the Science and Technology Committee’s reservations about UKCRMI’s location

May 31, 2011

Word: The policy and politics of science

Is Britain’s big biomedical institute in the right place?

00:00 25 May 2011

Highfield, editor of
New Scientist magazine

The project has been billed as the most exciting biomedical research initiative for a generation.

 Now plans to build the giant research centre in London have been given qualified backing by members of parliament.
The Science and Technology Committee publishes its report on the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) which commends the scientific vision for the centre but expresses reservations about  the project’s location.

The case for the centre’s central London site near St Pancras station was far from overwhelming and it could have been built elsewhere, says the committee.

The  advantages of a central location for up to 1500 staff come at a price: the cost of construction is higher at St Pancras than any viable alternative site; a site incapable of expansion; and the concentration of medical sciences in the south of England.

The “initial investment” for the project has risen to an estimated £645 million but do not include the full cost of fitting out the UKCMRI.

The operating costs are estimated to be around £100 million a year, though the evidence before the committee suggests that they could be significantly higher.

The Committee’s concerns were assuaged by evidence from the government that the taxpayer will not be liable to any further costs above the £200 million already committed, should the project overrun:



Dear Mr Highfield,

I write in response to your “Is Britain’s big biomedical institute in the right place?”  There is an issue relating to the siting of UKCRMI of which you will be unaware: Gordon Brown when Prime Minister interfered with what was meant to be a bidding process so as to invalidate the process. He did this by actively promoting the sale of the land to UKCRMI even before the closing date for expressions of interest. The sale of the land was supposedly to be decided by the DCMS Secretary of State, yet Brown was instructing the various government  departments involved to facilitate the sale to UKCRMI. How do I know this? Through the use of the FOIA.

I have set up a blog which deals with Gordon Brown’s interference and the other objections to the site, especially the security of the institute and provides a good deal of background to the protests against the institute being placed on the site.

To allow you to get into the story quickly look at these blog posts first:

You may cite or reproduce  any of the  material on the blog. Should you wish it, I will make available to you all the documents I have received using the FOIA, although the most important ones are on the blog. I should also be happy to write an article on the matter for you.

Yours sincerely,


Robert Henderson



    May 2011
    M T W T F S S
    « Mar   Jun »