Quadram Institute reaches major construction landmark
The construction of the Quadram Institute, Norwich Research Park’s state-of-the-art new centre for food and health research, reached a significant stage this week (Thursday 2 March) with the final cement pouring.
George Freeman MP, chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board and former UK Minister for Life Sciences (pictured right), led a ceremony to make the occasion, which was also attended by representatives of Quadram Institute’s four partners, the University of East Anglia (UEA), the Institute of Food Research (IFR), the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
The Quadram Institute, which is being built by Wates Construction, is on target to open in mid-2018, when it will house 300 scientists and 100 clinicians, integrating research teams from UEA’s Faculty of Science and Norwich Medical School, the IFR and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s gastrointestinal endoscopy department to create one of Europe’s largest centres of its kind.
“Combining this level of expertise under one roof will bring about a new level of collaboration to achieve our collective mission to develop solutions to worldwide challenges in human health, food and disease,” said Prof Ian Charles, Director of the IFR, who will lead the Quadram Institute (pictured left). “We are developing a world-leading facility for research across our four themes of the gut, healthy aging, food innovation and food safety.”
These themes link closely with the world-class plant and crop research undertaken at the John Innes Centre and bioinformatics at the Earlham Institute, both also on Norwich Research Park, creating a unique set of resources to deliver new foods, treatments and health and lifestyle interventions.
The Quadram Institute will also house a new regional endoscopy centre which, as well as undertaking research and teaching on gastrointestinal health, will carry out around 40,000 procedures a year. Mark Davies, NNUH Chief Executive, said: "As a University Teaching Hospital, NNUH has a very active research programme. Working with our Norwich Research Park partners, we are now another step closer to making the Quadram Institute and its future opportunities for life-saving research, a reality. It also provides our patients with a new state-of-the-art endoscopy unit, which will be the biggest in the UK.”
“This pioneering building will enable researchers from many disciplines to work with clinicians, heralding a new era of food and health science,” said Prof David Richardson, UEA’s Vice-Chancellor. “By studying the links between gut microbes and health, we will define what constitutes a healthy gut and how the microbes present affect our health. Ultimately, this research will help us to enhance human health, reducing the burden on healthcare provision both in the UK and globally.”
As part of its mission to develop solutions to worldwide challenges in human health, food and disease, researchers and clinicians will work closely with the food industry, healthcare providers and allied sectors to put the knowledge gained into practical use.
“The UK is a world-leading pioneer in bioscience research and, with the construction of the Quadram Institute, we continue to raise the bar in research excellence,” said Prof Melanie Welham, Chief Executive, BBSRC. “The Quadram Institute will provide a platform for scientists to develop integrated food, diet and health research for both the benefit of society and the bioeconomy.”