Bloomsbury Research Institute seeks permission to build world-class research centre

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and UCL (University College London) have submitted a planning application to build the Bloomsbury Research Institute, a research facility at Tavistock Place to accelerate the development of new treatments and solutions for the prevention and control of infectious diseases aimed at saving lives worldwide.

The proposal being considered by Camden Council would provide state-of-the-art laboratories to bring together world-leading scientists to work on solutions to the most important global challenges in infectious disease.

A joint initiative between the School and UCL, the Institute would house more than 200 scientists and build on useful links with partners in the UK and worldwide to find new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for the major global killers - TB, HIV and malaria; as well as neglected tropical diseases and emerging microorganisms. They will also contribute to international efforts to address antibiotic resistance and develop new antimicrobials.

The Institute has identified a suitable site on land owned by the School behind its campus at 15-17 Tavistock Place in the heart of Bloomsbury. This location benefits from close proximity to world-class research centres such as the Francis Crick Institute and access to major London hospitals and patients.

BMJ Architects have designed a building for the site - which currently houses a storage shed - to enhance and respect the surrounding environment. The proposal would provide five levels of laboratories, two situated below ground.

Over the last few months, the Institute's Community Engagement Coordinator has been talking about the project to people living and working nearby, and neighbours and interest groups have attended a series of public consultation events to meet the development team and find out more about the proposal.

Professor Sharon Peacock, Director of the Bloomsbury Research Institute, said: "This is an important moment for the Bloomsbury Research Institute. To fulfil our aims in making a unique impact in the field of infectious diseases by developing cutting edge solutions to save lives and influence policy, we need the best facilities for research. We are working closely with the architects, planners and local community to create a development which will make a positive difference to both infectious disease research and the neighbourhood, and we hope that our planning application will be successful."

If planning permission is granted, it is hoped the building would be completed in 2018.

Funding for the circa £56 million facility will come from the partners as well as a variety of sources including government, philanthropic organisations, research councils and companies.

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