Corporate Commentary

Changing the way biomedical research is conducted, communicated and utilized

Elsevier contributed £100,000 to Cancer Research UK’s ‘Create the Change’ campaign to establish the UK’s new Francis Crick Institute for biomedical research

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Dr. Harpal Kumar, CEO of Cancer Research UK (right) shows Elsevier CEO Ron Mobed a model of the Francis Crick Institute, due to open in 2016.

I’ll long remember the day I was working in Elsevier’s London office and our CEO, Ron Mobed, stopped by, dropped a folder on my desk and said, “This institute is going to change the way research is done; it’s exactly the type of effort we should support.”

At Elsevier, we’ve been focusing hard on changing the way science research is conducted, communicated and utilized, so this statement didn’t surprise me. I got to work building conversations with the science community behind the Crick Institute.

[pullquote align="right"]“This donation from Elsevier marks a significant step in our effort to bring together a multitude of stakeholders united by a common goal to tackle the hardest problems in biomedical research today.” — Harpal Kumar, DSc, Chief Executive Officer at Cancer Research UK[/pullquote]

The Francis Crick Institute is a collaboration between six of the world’s leading medical research organizations: Cancer Research UK, The Medical Research Council, The Wellcome Trust, UCL (University College London), King’s College London and Imperial College London. With a unique multidisciplinary approach to unravelling the mysteries behind major diseases and dedicated to research excellence, the institute will have the scale, vision and expertise to tackle challenging scientific questions underpinning health and disease.

An inside look at the Francis Crick InstituteThe new state-of-the-art building, located at King’s Cross and due to open in 2016, will see more than 1,200 scientists collaborating to discover the biology underlying major human diseases – cancer, heart disease, lung disease, infectious diseases such as HIV and malaria and many more.

Elsevier’s donation to Cancer Research UK (CRUK), one of the Crick’s six founding organizations, will help establish this new research institute, which aims to make the next leap forward in biomedical research by “translating the latest laboratory discoveries into the next generation of medical breakthroughs” – a mission strongly shared by Elsevier.

Our shared priorities

Over the past year, CRUK and Elsevier stakeholders have discussed what the Crick hopes to achieve through a step change in the way research on cancer, heart disease, stroke, difficult-to-treat neurodegenerative conditions, and infectious diseases is done. Elsevier strongly supports this and has identified the following areas of need that will help bring about this change:

  1. Search and discovery: Providing the best research information and support to researchers in a speedy and efficient way to help them be more effective and creative, in particular via an advanced recommender system that helps researchers within the institute have access to the best and most relevant content to researchers in a particular field.
  2. Collaboration: Finding new ways to locate/identify leading experts in the fields that they want to progress, and more efficient ways to collaborate across disciplines.
  3. Helping to maximize the impact of research output in society: Defining new methods to maximize the impact of the research more quickly.
  4. Funding and resources allocation: Discovering new ways to allocate funding.
  5. Research data: Defining new ways to analyze, discover, and structure research data that will make research data discoverable and re-usable.

Elsevier is now working in close collaboration with a number of globally excellent academic institutions, such as the UCL Big Data Institute, because we believe that these relationships are of mutual benefit. We have the ambition, the skills, the scale and the commitment to explore long-term partnerships with institutions like the Crick.

[pullquote align="right"]“Elsevier is interested not just in the publication of research findings but in the utility of those findings in the practical implementation of new research and in policy decision making. The Crick’s commitment to excellence, emphasis on multidisciplinary research, focus on young and emerging talent and new ways of collaborating are very much aligned with our mission. It represents the future of how science could be applied to benefit society and is an endeavor we very much want to support.” — Ron Mobed, Chief Executive Officer at Elsevier [/pullquote]

We can help researchers translate and communicate key research findings to be leveraged towards the betterment of health. We understand how institutions need to relate to a wide variety of stakeholders – governments, funders, universities, authors, readers and taxpayers – and work closely with them to ensure all audiences are supportive of its mission.

Through our existing and future collaborations, we aim to help derive commercial applications from research, helping to improve the return on investment and attract new investments from both private and public sources. We are actively working to create and execute a set of next-generation workflows, products and data services so researchers can perform their work faster, better and with greater flexibility than is possible today.

CRUK recently hosted a small delegation of executives from Elsevier and the RELX Group (our parent company) for a tour of the nearly completed construction site, where they discussed the Crick and how Elsevier could support it in the future. Highlights included the finished state-of-the-art 450-seat auditorium, the teaching lab for local school children, and the exhibition area. The group also visited the laboratories and central collaboration areas where scientists from different disciplines and disease areas will be located together in open, light, bright flexible spaces. 

Elsevier’s donation towards the development of the Crick, plus any potential collaborations with the institute in the future, are an important component of how we at Elsevier hope to contribute further to the global science community. We look forward to helping make this a success.

Elsevier CEO Ron Mobed with Harpal Kumar, DSc, CEO at Cancer Research UK; Jim Smith, PhD, Director of Research at the Francis Crick Institute and Deputy CEO and Chief of Strategy of the Medical Research Council; and Anthony Habgood, Chairman of RELX Group, Elsevier’s parent company.

Elsevier Connect Contributor

Tom  RellerAs VP and Head of Global Corporate Relations at Elsevier, Tom Reller (@TomReller) leads a global team of  media, social and web communicators for the world's  largest provider of scientific, technical and medical (STM) information products and services. Together, they work to build on Elsevier's reputation by promoting the company's numerous contributions to the health and science communities, many of which  are brought to life in this online community  and information resource: Elsevier Connect.

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