New building on the Norwich Research Park to house ground-breaking research

An exciting new biomedical research facility is being built by UEA on the Norwich Research Park (NRP), which will bring together world-class scientists, patients and clinicians to focus on finding answers to common diseases, especially those of an ageing population; focusing on bone disease, prostate cancer and gut diseases. It will also teach the students of the Norwich Medical School.

The University is within the world's top 1% of academic research institutions and we are, with our Norwich Research Park (NRP) partners (www.nrp.org.uk), a centre of excellence in unravelling the relationship between food and disease. With the synergies of UEA, the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital and the science institutions on the NRP, we have both an opportunity, and a national responsibility, to make the study of nutrition, genetics and serious disease, our strategic goal.

UEA is constructing the new medical research building, sited adjacent to the NNUH and close to The Genome Analysis Centre. (TGAC)

Planned facilities

The building will provide state-of-the-art facilities of over 4,500 m2 to include the following:

  • Working space for 160 people, up to 120 of whom will be researchers, technicians and administrators, and the balance postgraduate students.
  • Laboratories focused on translational biomedical research (50% ‘wet' and 50% ‘dry' lab spaces, including specialist support areas), targeted at the improvement of patient care and medical breakthroughs.
  • A large contemporary bio-repository facility (funded by £1m Government investment) to underpin fundamental and clinical research throughout the NRP, enabling DNA, tissue and blood specimens to be kept under controlled conditions.
  • A 200 seat lecture theatre and seminar rooms providing up to date teaching and group-study space for students and staff, including those training to be doctors at the Norwich Medical School.

Research teams

NNUH clinicians will work with patients from the hospital, alongside UEA scientists, offering the best opportunity to find vital answers to disease, by performing research in a purpose-built environment. Identifying new biomarkers, developing new clinical trials and treatments; and spinning out new drugs, will be priorities. Advanced teaching facilities will offer students the chance to learn academically as well as practically, and clinical teaching facilities will be relocated from the NNUH, bringing benefits to the Hospital and region as ward space is freed up.

One team, led by UEA's Prof Colin Cooper, Chair of Cancer Genetics, will work on advancing prostate cancer treatment; before developing breast and lung cancer research. Prof Bill Fraser, a national expert in osteoporosis, will be heading up a specialist bone and joint research team, with a public appeal for £1m launched in 2013 to support the Norfolk Bone and Joint Centre (‘The Norfolk Bone and Joint Appeal') and having raised well over £300,000 to date. Prof Alastair Watson will be leading the research into gastrointestinal health and disease, and Prof Aedin Cassidy will be leading nutrition research.

Regional benefits

The NMRB will put UEA at the very heart of clinical translational science on the NRP. This will attract additional top quality scientists and teaching staff, strengthening Norwich's already excellent reputation as a leading research site for biomedical sciences (currently Norwich is the fourth most cited city in UK science papers).

The building will further enhance the NRP's future position in the Norfolk economy, attracting and securing jobs; developing Norwich and Norfolk's reputation nationally, and within internationally important medicine and biomedical science research.

Finances and donor opportunities

Core funding for the £19 million construction project is provided by UEA (£10m), NNUH (£6m), and a further £3M is being sought in gifts and charitable donations. An appeal was launched in 2013 and has raised funds of £1.84m to date. Further support is urgently required ahead of project completion in November 2014.

Prominent public recognition within the building and at UEA is planned for all major donors. Lecture theatre seats are being ‘sold' for £1000 per seat named, and with 200 seats available it would be good to see all seats named very soon!

www.uea.ac.uk/difference/nmrb

Development Office contact: David Ellis

d.ellis1@uea.ac.uk