UCL to host new brain research institute

Clay rendered three-dimensional model of the UCL campus, created by Andrew Hudson-Smith of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, using SketchUp and 3DMax.

Nature News reports that UCL will host a centre of excellence for neuroscience research:

University College London (UCL) will host the new centre, after beating rival universities Oxford and Cambridge, Nature has learned. The £140-million (US$261-million) institute will be funded by the Wellcome Trust, the largest UK research charity, and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, founded by David Sainsbury, a British politician and businessman. The individuals involved declined to comment, but Richard Morris, head of neuroscience at the Wellcome Trust, says no decision has been made.

The aim of the centre will be to "elucidate how neural circuits carry out information processing that underpins behaviour", according to the charities' letter to the universities competing for the project, sent earlier this year. The institute will take an interdisciplinary approach, combining state-of-the-art molecular and cellular biology with computational modelling.

UCL may have beaten competitors because its 400-strong neuroscience department is one of the most productive in the country. And it already has a world-class computational neuroscience centre, also funded by the Gatsby foundation.


More like this

Today sees the launch of UCL's iTunes platform, which can be used to download, among other things, lectures and seminars. There's not much material on there yet, but the university promises that highlights of UCL on iTunes U will include: first-hand expert accounts of the history of neuroscience,…
Bora Zivkovic is coming to London on Wednesday April 9th, and several events have been organized for his visit, which I'll be going to. First, there'll be a behind-the-scenes tour of the Natural History Museum, starting at 4.30pm, followed by a few drinks at The Queen's Arms. If you're in…
Here's a juicy one from the Aug 24 Science. Labs in Switzerland and the UK have independently used visual tricks to induce "out-of-body" experiences in healthy lab volunteers. At the UK lab -- the ever-productive Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging in London -- they seem to have combined some…
Spatial navigation is a complex mental task which is strongly dependent upon memory. As we make our way around a new environment, we look for easily recognisable landmarks and try to remember how their locations are related in space, so that when we return to it we can negotiate our path.  We know…

Excellent! This is one of the reasons why I would like to take up a PhD. at UCL, an institution where I would have done my MSc. if it were possible.

There is always hope.. but it is nice to know how UCL has beaten Oxbridge at gaining the funding to build this new centre. Naturally this means that we can expect some exciting stuff to come out of UCL after the centre is built.

Any idea where the centre is going to be built? According to the UCL website, its going to be by the British Library, but building space in the area is very limited. I remember when the ACBE and Katz building went up, apparently in the space where the former great hall had been before WW2 and a German bomb. Lets hope they have cleared the space a little more peacefully this time...

Hesitant Iconoclast: There's already a lot of exciting neuroscience research coming out of UCL.

MikeB: According to the article, it'll be on Huntley Street; that's the location of the UCL medical student's bar.

So, you'll be having some friendly competition (and international neuroscience will benefit) with the new Brain Mind Institute at EPFL in Lausanne.

The continent to your west is envious.

"Any idea where the centre is going to be built?"

That Nature news article has it being built on Huntley Street:

It is believed that the institute will eventually host some 12-15 research groups at a new £60-million building on Huntley Street in Bloomsbury, near both the Wellcome Trust and UCL's central campus.

and possibly built by 2011 but somehow I don't see that as feasible.