The Centre was made possible thanks to a generous GBP60 million donation from H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation. The centre is a partnership between the GOSH, University College London, UCL, and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
The centre is due for completion at the end of 2018 and will be the first Purpose Built Centre of its kind in the world. It will bring together hundreds of clinicians and researchers under one roof to drive forward new treatments and cures for children with rare diseases, and will support translational research that focuses on taking discoveries from the lab bench to the patients’ bedsides.
The ceremony was attended by Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazrouei, UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Professor Maha Barakat, Advisor to the Executive Council of the Government of Abu Dhabi and a number of officials from the Government of Abu Dhabi.
During the ceremony, Al Mazrouei expressed his gratitude to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak for her generous support locally and internationally. He also thanked the partners and shareholders of the centre for their ongoing commitment to the project.
He said, “The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children is an innovative and collaborative partnership that brings together world-class medical and scientific expertise, which will have an immediate and lasting impact on the lives of many children from around the world.”
Peter Steer, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, said, “We’re delighted to celebrate this important milestone which marks the culmination of many months of work with our contractors and UCL in the construction of the centre. By creating a facility that brings patients, clinicians, and scientists together in one place we will advance pioneering research into paediatric rare diseases further and faster. The work we do here will help children with rare conditions across the world to thrive and fulfil their potential.”
Professor Graham Hart, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences, said, “This generous donation and the building it has helped create will help progress international quality research into the causes and treatments of rare diseases in children across the globe. UCL is proud of its association with its partner Great Ormond Street Hospital, and together we will work tirelessly to improve the health of children and the adults they will become through the efforts of our colleagues in the Zayed Centre.”
Tim Johnson, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, added, “I would like to thank the family of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Thanks to their generosity the charity has been able to support GOSH to discover new treatments and cures for children with complex and rare conditions both at the hospital and across the UK.”
GOSH sees children from more than 90 countries and specialises in the treatment of children with rare diseases. These include children from the UAE who come to the hospital to be treated for a range of conditions including rare heart and neurological conditions.
Work has now begun on the interior of the centre, which will house state-of-the-art laboratories and highly-specialised facilities for the development of new gene and stem cell therapies as well as a much-needed outpatient clinic.
The construction of the building involved the demolition of an office block built in the 1960s, which was being used by the University of London and had been disused for some time. Designed by award-winning architects Stanton Williams, construction of the new building began in 2017 by Swedish contractor Skanska, who is responsible for the construction, mechanical and electrical fit-out of the facility.
On completion, the building will include 4,200m3 concrete to build the frame, weighing 10,500 tonnes; 520 tonnes of steel used in the building structure; 5,000 metres of drywall partitions; 13,000sqm of floor space; 2,500sqm of glass within the external walls, and a BREEAM rating of excellent.
The topping out event was celebrated with a traditional Scandinavian ‘flying of the fir’ in which a fir tree was flown over the building by tower crane, as well as a final pouring of cement, in a rooftop ceremony.
WAM/MOHD AAMIR/Nour Salman
, Civil Society Newswire, Middle East, English