The Rosalind Franklin Institute
Backed by over £100 million of investment, the Roalind Franklin Institute will be a national centre of excellence in technology development and innovation. Physical scientists, engineers and life scientists will work together to develop new techniques and instrumentation and apply them to key challenges in the health and life sciences – leading to improved understanding of disease, faster discovery of new treatments for chronic conditions that affect millions of people worldwide, new jobs, and long-term economic growth.
Managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the facility will focus initially on the development of next-generation imaging methods (including techniques that will allow dynamic, real-time imaging of molecular processes or chemical reactions) and on new chemical methods and strategies for drug discovery. The RFI will draw on expertise from across the UK. Its central hub will be based at Harwell in Oxfordshire, with linked sites at partner universities including Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford, Imperial College, King’s College London, and University College London.
Prof. Andrew Harrison, CEO at Diamond comments: “The RFI will develop new technologies designed to tackle major challenges in health and life sciences, and will have a strong synergy with Diamond’s interdisciplinary research programmes. It is named after the pioneering scientist who helped discover DNA using the same technique which underpins much of today’s experiments at the Diamond synchrotron.”
“A key element to this success will be the close proximity to, and collaborations with Diamond, the Central Laser Facility and Research Complex at Harwell which all have tremendous synergy with each other. Diamond’s two electron imaging centres (ePSIC and eBIC) will soon be the largest microscopy centre for biology and physical sciences globally, and together with the RFI, will form a key driver of life science research over the next decades.”
The new Rosalind Franklin Institute (RFI) – named in honour of the pioneering British scientist whose use of X-rays to study biological structures played a crucial role in the discovery of DNA’s ‘double helix’ structure by Francis Crick and James Watson – will bring together UK strengths in the physical sciences, engineering and life sciences to create a national centre of excellence in technology development and innovation.