The Rosalind Franklin Institute is a new national institute, funded by the UK government through UK Research and Innovation, dedicated to bringing about transformative changes in life science through interdisciplinary research and technology development.

Our work is focused into five complementary themes, which together will produce technologies which allow us to see the biological world in new ways, from single molecules to entire systems. This insight will speed up drug design and development, and push forward our understanding of human health and disease.

Working with both industrial and academic partners from across the UK, we will foster interdisciplinary research with real impact.

Operating on a ‘hub and spokes’ model, the Institute has its central hub at the Harwell Campus. The hub will house a unique portfolio of scientific tools and researchers from both industry and academia. Equipment and researchers will also be located in spokes distributed throughout our partner network of ten leading UK universities.

The Institute is open to new collaborations and partnerships with both academia and industry – for more information please see the theme pages, or contact the team at

The Challenge

Creating new drugs has never been slower or more expensive, but need is growing faster than ever – with antimicrobial resistance increasing, escalating healthcare costs; an ageing population; the growing impact of mental illness, or of intractable diseases such as dementia, and threats to food security.

The substantial challenges faced by the life sciences sector means that the current business model for the development of new treatments is fast becoming unsustainable. Yet the legacy of advances in life science over recent decades is that we have greater insight into the root causes of disease than at any time in our history – the potential is huge for technology to advance and impact lives around the world.

Our mission is to develop and apply disruptive new technologies in physical and engineering sciences that will change life science research, and in turn impact the UK pharmaceutical sector. As a rule of thumb, any technology driven by The Franklin should represent a factor of ten shift over current technologies.

Franklin values

Our values define how we approach all aspects of our work, both internally and externally, and in particular how we approach collaboration and assess projects.

  • Adventure
  • Engagement
  • Novelty
  • Utility


Our projects, by their nature, carry significant risk, combined with significant pay-off in scientific, economic, and patient benefits if successful. Risk is mitigated by engaging experts from across disciplines and working together to approach large challenges.


Our projects are not conceived of or delivered by one organisation alone, they engage multiple partners across academia and industry and there is demonstrable support for their development by these communities.


Our technologies will be novel in their application and design, offering tools to the academic and industrial communities which enable significant new research potential and economic benefit.


Our technologies will be sought after by both academic and industrial communities, and access will be opened to as wide as possible, ensuring that the research benefits are maximised.