September 13th, 2021
Professor Dame Jessica Corner
I was delighted to attend the official opening of the Biodiscovery Institute (BDI) on University Park Campus last week (Monday 6 September). It was attended by around 100 guests, including leading scientists, government officials and key figures in healthcare and funding bodies from across the UK, and it is no exaggeration to say that we were thrilled to be there.
This was the first such in-person event to be held on campus in 18 months, which has felt like a very long time. The launch of the institute was delayed by the pandemic and since then so much has happened, with many aspect of our lives changed for ever.
So to witness this £100m research institute officially opened by Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council, and our Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West was very special.
The launch was limited to 100 people due to the pandemic – but reflecting BDI Director Chris Denning’s passion for inclusivity (and pride in sharing the outstanding contributions of his colleagues) the event was live-streamed.
Professor Watt gave a compelling address and Chris chaired an inspiring and thought-provoking discussion on nurturing a research culture where all can thrive and reach their potential.
Guests were given the opportunity to meet researchers, and tour labs where world-changing discoveries are enhancing our ability to diagnose, treat and cure disease.
The Biodiscovery Institute is home to 850 talented academics, researchers, clinicians and support staff who together have generated £223m in funding since 2014. It has also been the vanguard of the UK’s response to Covid-19, donating equipment to assist with mass testing and establishing and running from its labs a University of Nottingham Covid-19 Asymptomatic Testing Service, which has processed nearly 100,000 samples from 20,000 people.
As our Vice-Chancellor said:
“The University of Nottingham has always been at the forefront of innovation in global science and healthcare, from the development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to the discovery of ibuprofen. I have no doubt that the Biodiscovery Institute will continue this proud heritage, using the very latest equipment, technology and collaboration techniques in chemical and biological discovery to tackle disease and improve lives across the world.”
This was a fantastic event, put together in challenging circumstances, and a model for engaging colleagues across the university and beyond. The launch of the Cobot Maker Space on Innovation Park on Jubilee campus, which also took place last week, further underlines our commitment to establishing world-class research facilities as hubs for innovation and knowledge exchange. My congratulations to everyone involved.
Professor Dame Jessica Corner
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange
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