The Rosalind Franklin Institute

The Rosalind Franklin Institute is a new national institute, announced in 2017 by the UK government, dedicated to bringing about transformative changes in life science through interdisciplinary research and technology development.

The Institute is an independent organisation funded by the UK government through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and operated by ten UK universities.

We will operate on a ‘hub and spokes’ model, with  a central hub at the Harwell Campus, delivered by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). 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 the partner network of universities.

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

The joint venture between all partners was signed in Spring 2018, with funded projects commencing across the research themes in partner organisations shortly afterwards.

Professor Andrew Livingston, Imperial College, and Professor Jim Naismith, Oxford University, and Director of the Research Complex at Harwell have been appointed as academic leads to guide the formation of the Institute.

Key scientific themes

The Rosalind Franklin Institute will be driven by research in five scientific themes, each working to develop and deliver tools which enable breakthrough research from academic and industrial communities.

The Rosalind Franklin Institute will not work on projects which could be undertaken in other facilities or institutes – it will focus exclusively on problems where physical science technology can enable significant changes in our abilities to answer biological problems with applications in industry.

For details of events, opportunities to collaborate and engage with the Institute, visit our ‘opportunities‘ page.

The five themes are;

  •  Structural Biology
  •  Biological mass spectrometry
  •  Next generation chemistry for medicine
  •  Imaging with Sound and Light
  •  Correlated imaging

Institute Partners and Governance

The Institute was set up as a legal entity in Spring 2018. The board for the Institute will be made up of members nominated by partner organisations, plus representation from industry.

Partner organisations

The Institute has been formed by a group of ten university partners from across the UK, plus the research council STFC.

  •  University of Birmingham
  •  University of Cambridge
  •  University of Edinburgh
  •  Imperial College London
  •  University of Leeds
  •  Kings College London
  •  University of Manchester
  •  University of Oxford
  •  University of Southampton
  •  University College London (UCL)
  •  STFC

The Institute will operate as an independent entity, with funding provided by the UK government through EPSRC.

About Rosalind Franklin

The namesake of the institute, the pioneering X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, was one of the key figures in the discovery of the structure of DNA, and used a technique with roots in physics and technology to transform life science. The Institute will follow in this spirit, developing unique new techniques and tools and applying them for the first time to biological problems.

Read more about the life and legacy of Rosalind Franklin here.