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At Oxford, we have the breadth and depth of skills needed to realise our vision for an integrated multidisciplinary technology-driven intervention centre. OCIT will bring together surgeons who are active researchers; biomedical engineers who can develop new ways of delivering drugs and improved equipment for surgeons; radiobiologists who can identify and treat diseased tissue; statisticians and bio-informaticians who can collect and interpret patient data; geneticists who can unravel molecular pathways in diseases and identify treatment targets; and many others. Reflecting the importance of this multi-disciplinary approach, the Centre is being driven jointly by the University’s Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences and Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

And an ideal site has been identified. Following discussions with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), it has been recognised that OCIT needs to be based on the site of the Churchill Hospital to give ready access to patients.

OCIT will also be located next to the University’s Old Road Campus. This is one of Europe’s largest and  most successful biomedical research campuses which offers OCIT a vast array of complementary expertise including genetics, epidemiology, target discovery and big data analysis. Importantly, a BioEscalator is being built on the Campus to provide facilities to catalyse the translation and commercialisation of fundamental and clinical research. This facility will open in 2021.

And the time is right – the University leadership and OUH are committed to realising this exciting project.

Outline architectural drawings are being prepared. The 5,000m2 Centre will have dedicated technology and translational laboratories, a state-of-the-art simulation operating suit, operating rooms for clinical trials and for testing new procedures, and a suite of patient facilities. Core facilities will include cell culture, nanotechnology, microscopy, histopathology, electronics and prototyping workshop, and meeting and seminar rooms. It will accommodate around 300 staff.

The Centre will be developed on a phased basis, recognising that it may take time to complete the fundraising and to ensure that we maximise the use of the available site. The aim is to complete the shell and core by 2020 along with fitting out those units of the OCIT which are funded. We hope that OCIT will be fully complete by the end of 2021.