The Francis Crick Institute

Top 30 things in Camden: The Francis Crick Institute

The Crick Institute was established in 2016 through a collaboration of Cancer Research UK, King’s College London, the Medical Research Council, the University College London and the Wellcome Trust. It is the biggest single biomedical laboratory in Europe and was named after the famous scientist Francis Crick, who co-discovered of the DNA structure and is referred to as the “father of modern genetics.” Fun fact: In 2015, a researcher at Crick called Tomas Lindahl received the Nobel prize for Chemistry together with Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar, showing once again the Crick’s engagement with scientific innovation.

Asides from conducting scientific research, the Institute aims to generate excitement and provide knowledge through its exciting public engagement programme designed to bridge the fields of science, arts and humanities. The programme supports a variety of events, talks and activities that are open to all ages. One example is Crick Chats: an inclusive, interactive and free talks program featuring different scientists and researchers in which the audience in welcome to participate. 

The Crick is also part of the Science Museum’s Lates: a chance to see science at work in close-up. Ever wanted to knit a blood vessel or drink a DNA cocktail? This is your chance! 

Soapbox Science (a reference to the tradition of politicians and revolutionaries to stand on wooden soapboxes and hold public speeches) is an annual event that not only takes the Crick out of its building and onto the streets, but also promotes a feminist agenda, giving female scientists the chance to organize talks in public spaces all over London, while sponsored by the Crick.    

As a big supporter for the arts, the Crick is home to a 14-meter high sculpture by Conrad Shawcross, called “Paradigm.” The massive steel construction was erected outside of the Institute and is the largest public sculpture in London!

Interior Francis Crick Institute
The Francis Crick Institute - (c) Wellcome Images