In Pictures: First look at how Norwich’s £81m research centre will look

PUBLISHED: 08:27 15 February 2016 | UPDATED: 17:06 15 February 2016

Artist's impression of the new Quadram Institute to be built at Norwich Research Park.

Artist's impression of the new Quadram Institute to be built at Norwich Research Park.


The Quadram Institute will see the Institute of Food Research (IFR), the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital team up in purpose-built facilities on Norwich Research Park.

What’s in a name?

The Quadram Institute’s name reflects its four founding partners: the Institute of Food Research, the University of East Anglia, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Selected from more than 300 suggestions, the name was chosen to be “futureproof” - offering the flexibility to accommodate any change in the centre’s research focus in the coming years - but has already been shortened to QI by academics.

The name also relates to its four current research themes: the gut and microbiome, or gut flora; healthy ageing; food innovation; and food safety.

The centre’s aim is to develop solutions to worldwide challenges in human health, food and disease, deliver new foods and treatments for the benefit of society and the bio-economy.

Scientific researchers working in the fields of health, food and disease will work side-by-side with clinicians in the building, which will also treat up to 40,000 NNUH patients every year.

The director of the IFR, which will move out of its current home when the new building is completed in 2018, said the centre would position the city as a leader in an emerging discipline, which could bring further investment and more jobs to Norwich.

Prof Ian Charles said: “There is a unique set of resources and expertise at the Norwich Research Park enabling the new Quadram Institute to be a world-leading innovation hub across our areas of interest: namely the gut, microbes, food and health.

He added: “Recent understanding of how food and our gut flora interact is creating a fundamental shift in the way we will understand and address the impact of food on health.

“We will be engaged in fundamental and translational research, alongside clinical studies and endoscopy and our goal is to become recognised globally for research excellence and clinical expertise, and impact on patient care and outcomes.”

Funding for the Quadram Institute has been provided by the three organisations involved and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and will focus on four themes: gut flora, healthy ageing, food innovation and food safety.

It will combine research teams from the IFR, the UEA’s faculty of science and Norwich Medical School with the NNUH’s gastrointestinal endoscopy facility, and is expected to employ around 400 people.

Work began this month on the site near the Bob Champion research and education building.

Tackling world problems

UEA vice chancellor Prof David Richardson said: “The Quadram Institute will be a unique multisciplinary hub for world-leading research in the important fields of food, diet and health.

“This partnership will give Norwich Research Park researchers the opportunity to make cutting-edge contributions at the forefront of this emerging discipline.”

Professor Melanie Welham, director of science at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, said: “The UK is a recognised leader in bioscience research, with Norwich being well known for its strengths in food and plant sciences, as well as microbiological and gastrointestinal research.

“The Quadram Institute will enable us to bring together world-leading scientists in custom-built facilities to develop an integrated approach to food, diet and health research.

“The challenges these scientists will be tackling are some of the most important for people around the world, socially and economically.”

Prof Charles said the new building would be “a very special place to research”, and would benefit from links with other research park mainstays such as the John Innes Centre and the Genome Analysis Centre.

“It will emphasise the link between research and clinical practice,” he said.

“We will have patients coming through the door, so there is a nice connection between community care and the scientists doing the research: they will know what they are doing is relevant.”

The Quadram Institute will also seek to build links with the food industry and health sector, and Prof Charles believes that could ultimately lead to further investment from businesses.

Artist's impression of the new Quadram Institute to be built at Norwich Research Park.Artist's impression of the new Quadram Institute to be built at Norwich Research Park.

“We want to be seen as a centre of excellence not just in the UK, but internationally.

“This is almost a new discipline, so perhaps traditional food or pharmaceutical companies may think they need to see what is happening in the sector.”

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