UCL and Moorfields Eye Hospital receive £5 million toward eye health research facility Oriel

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An investment from the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust will support a state-of-the-art building, opening in 2027

A researcher in a white coat performs work in a lab. Image courtesy Moorfields Eye Charity.

Oriel is a joint initiative between Moorfields Eye Hospital, Moorfields Eye Charity and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. Image courtesy Moorfields Eye Charity.

On Tuesday, Moorfields Eye Hospital announced the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust has awarded a £5 million donation to University College London in support of Oriel, a centre for accelerating ocular research. Oriel is a joint initiative between Moorfields Eye Hospital, Moorfields Eye Charity and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. The ambitious project received final approval from the NHS in late 2022. Moorfields Eye Charity released a digitally-rendered image of the cutting-edge campus, expected to open in 2027.

According to a news release, the new Oriel facility1 will be located in Camden, in part of London’s ‘Knowledge Quarter.’ The region is home to tech giants like Google, cultural institutions including the British Museum and several scientific and research organsations. As part of the new Oriel campus, the gift from the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust will fund imaging and virtual assessment technologies for its clinical trial facilities.

Oriel exterior view - architectural impression. Image courtesy of Moorfields Eye Charity.

Oriel exterior view - architectural impression. Image courtesy of Moorfields Eye Charity.

In addition, the location and facilities will provide access to patients with a diversity of ocular conditions, and open doors for collaboration between clinicians, researchers and educators. Moorfields Eye Charity and UCL will continue to raise funds in support of Oriel ahead of the projected campus completion.

Robert Dufton, chief executive at Moorfields Eye Charity, said the gift amount will help Oriel bring new treatments to the people who need them.1

“Thank you so much to the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust for their generous gift to support research facilities in Oriel,” Dufton said in the press release. “This investment in research will be enhanced by Moorfields’ access to a very large patient population with eye conditions that range from the very rare to the common, and affecting people of all ages.”

“We hope that the new translational research facilities will contribute to scientific breakthroughs which will rapidly lead to faster diagnostics, and to new therapies for patients in the UK and across the world,” said Richard Benson, director of the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust.

UCL President and Provost Dr Michael Spence added, “The use of advanced imaging, together with an unrivalled informatics platform to target specific clinical cohorts, will facilitate our execution of smaller, faster, more stratified clinical trials with higher chances of success.”


Reference

1. £5 million award for world-leading research facilities within new eye health centre. News release. Oriel. Accessed 5 February, 2024.
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