The opening of the Rosalind Franklin Institute marks a milestone in the UK’s ability to develop new technologies to address major health research challenges.
The £43 million new building, based at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, was opened on 29 September and will house the Franklin team and the cutting-edge biological imaging technologies being developed by the institute.
The new building was funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and built by the Science and Technology Facility Council (STFC), working with Mace.
It follows the foundation of the Franklin by 10 UK universities in 2018 with £103 million of funding from the government, delivered by EPSRC.
Technologies developed to date include:
- world-first time-resolved electron microscopes
- technology for imaging cells in 3D at atomic resolution
- chemical tools for protein modification and labelling
- mass spectrometry equipment with high fidelity sensitivity for tissue imaging.
The Franklin has also contributed to the national effort on COVID-19, including work funded by EPSRC and the Medical Research Council indicating that llama antibodies have ‘significant potential’ as a treatment for the virus.
EPSRC Executive Chair Professor Dame Lynn Gladden opened the building alongside delegates from across industry and academia, including Nobel Prize winner Professor Sir Richard Henderson.
Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, EPSRC Executive Chair said:
By connecting physical sciences and engineering to the life sciences, we have the ability to develop new innovations to enhance our understanding of life.
The opening of the Rosalind Franklin Institute will help us to tackle health research challenges and enable the UK to make leaps in life sciences innovation which would otherwise be inaccessible.
Professor James Naismith, Director of the Institute said:
This is a proud day for the Franklin. The work we do here will provide major factor-of-ten leaps in our ability to see and understand life.
These technologies will be a huge asset for the UK, and this building is the perfect home for them.
Top image: Credit: Rosalind Franklin Institute