The UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and UK Dementia Research Headquarters\

Defeating dementia in London’s Knowledge Quarter

A pioneering new home for world-leading translational research where UCL’s Institute of Neurology, the UKDRI’s headquarters and UCLH will join together to lead the global challenge to defeat dementias.

Dementia is the healthcare crisis of our time

It’s the leading cause of death in the UK and in recent years, death rates have continued to rise. Dementia is the only major cause of death we can’t slow down, prevent or cure and this comes at incredible cost. The number of people living with dementia is expected to rise to 1 million in just three years – the same year that dementia is projected to cost our economy £30bn (2019).

In 2016, the Government announced its commitment to tackling dementia and chose University College London as the home of the UK Dementia Research Institute’s central hub. It will lead the way in early diagnosis and uncover how to prevent dementias.

Creating a Centre for Excellence in Dementia and Neurology research

The project brings together UCL’s postgraduate research facility, the Institute of Neurology, the UK Dementia Research Institute’s Headquarters and their NHS partner - the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) to provide the most comprehensive, coordinated neuroscience research centre in the world - from research at laboratory benches to patient care.

We will have patients coming into the space, we will have basic neuroscientists asking fundamental questions about how the brain works. We’ll have translational neuroscientists who will be thinking ‘How do I take that new knowledge about the brain and apply it to the patient that I just walked past downstairs?’

“For me, this centre of excellence gives us the very best chance to use the best science to find treatments for these devastating diseases. It’ll do that by bringing people together, collaborating, deeply understanding disease mechanisms and then translating that knowledge into therapies for patients.”

Professor Mike Hanna, Director of Institute of Neurology, UCL


is the number of people in the UK
predicted to have dementia by 2051

Transforming neuroscience research

The new building will bring together 560 researchers from basic and clinical neurology, uniting research and therapy within a single building.

The building has been designed to foster collaborative working and innovative research practices by reducing barriers between research groups; this will speed up scientific and clinical outcomes. The building has also been designed specifically to adapt and reconfigure as the scientific process evolves when researchers find causes, create innovative therapies and improve mechanisms for treatment. The laboratories, technical spaces, write up areas and collaboration spaces are organised around a central shared social landing. On-floor service desks provide the back-bone of a communal sharing culture in the building and allows the institutes to maximise space for scientists and clinicians, ultimately delivering greater benefit to patients, carers and our understanding of these life altering conditions.

“The new building will be an internationally recognized symbol of our commitment to conquering dementia. It will enable us to attract the best researchers and to provide them with an optimum environment for getting the job done. Importantly, the new space will also connect our researchers to the public and people affected by dementia.”

Professor Adrian Ivinson, Chief Operating Officer, UK Dementia Research Institute

Revolutionise the development of treatments

“This will bring together one of the world’s largest concentrations of expertise in the science of the brain”

Dr Michael Spence President & Provost, UCL

The bigger picture

Our proposals provide a new campus at Bloomsbury East with a series of attractive public spaces and pathways. The fundamental ambition for the wider masterplan around the Neurology Centre is to link between Grays Inn Road and Kings Cross Road enabling the wider East/West link across the knowledge quarter.

Hawkins\Brown have also designed the interim home for the UK DRI at UCL in refurbished laboratory space in the Crucifom Building.

UCL Interim DRI Hub

Project Summary

Project Team

Project Manager & Quantity Surveyor: Arcadis
Healthcare & Specialist Laboratory Planning: BMJ Architects
Landscape Architect: Plincke
Planning Consultancy: Indigo
Services Engineering: Hoare Lea
Structural, Acoustic & Vibration Engineer: Ramboll
Transport & Logistics Consultancy: Momentum
Heritage Consultancy: Alan Baxter
Townscape Consultancy: Peter Stewart
Neighbourly Matters: GIA
Construction Partner: ISG


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