Knowledge Quarter launched at the British Library

George Osborne visiting the British Library

The new Knowledge Quarter, a partnership of 35 academic, cultural, research, scientific and media organisations based in King's Cross, Euston and Bloomsbury, was launched today at the British Library in London.

The members, which range from the British Museum and the University of the Arts London to the Connected Digital Economy Catapult, Wellcome Trust, The Guardian and the Aga Khan University, will work together to share their information, ideas, research and innovation. The aim of the Knowledge Quarter is to make the outstanding facilities, collections and expertise of its members understood, available and used as widely as possible for the benefit of researchers, creative people, students and the local community.

While launching London’s new Knowledge Quarter the Chancellor George Osborne announced that the headquarters of the £42 million pioneering Alan Turing Institute for Data Science will be based at Knowledge Quarter – with spurs around the country. The world-class research institute, dedicated to British computer pioneer and WW2 Enigma code-breaker Alan Turing, will work with universities across the country to focus on new ways of collecting, organising and analysing large sets of data – commonly known as big data. 

Welcoming the launch of the Knowledge Quarter and announcing the Alan Turing Institute the Chancellor George Osborne said:

“Key to the government’s long-term economic plan is ensuring Britain remains at the forefront of scientific innovation.

“That’s why I was delighted to announce the creation of the Alan Turing Institute, a world-class institution dedicated to the study of data science and big data, and why I’m pleased to confirm its home alongside other world-class institutions like the Crick Institute, the Wellcome Trust, and the British Library.

“The Institute will bring benefits to the whole country through partnerships with universities and businesses across Britain, including in our great northern cities, to better understand and exploit the amazing opportunities presented by big data.

“It’s a fitting tribute to Alan Turing – the father of modern computer science and a national hero – and will ensure Britain continues to lead the whole world in this important field.”

The objectives of the Knowledge Quarter are:

  • To facilitate knowledge exchange and identify opportunities to collaborate and achieve efficiencies between members;
  • To identify and support local environment and infrastructure projects with Camden Council, the GLA and TfL;
  • To raise awareness of the value of the Knowledge Quarter and its resources with stakeholders;
  • To support the local community by improving access to its resources and collections.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library and Chair of the Knowledge Quarter said on the launch: “The area around King’s Cross, St Pancras, Euston and Bloomsbury is a gateway to the most valuable commodity of the 21st century – knowledge. Just as the great Victorian railway engineers built a revolutionary transport hub for people and goods in this part of London, so the Knowledge Quarter is rapidly becoming a world-class interchange for creative ideas, research and innovation.”

Deputy London Mayor for Business & Enterprise, Kit Malthouse commented: “London leads the way in supporting the UK’s knowledge economy.  I am proud that within our great capital city we have leading international organisations that are coming together, through the Knowledge Quarter, to find ways that they can support growth and innovation through research.”

Mike Cooke, Chief Executive, Camden Council, commented: “People and ideas are what makes Camden such an exciting and dynamic borough. The Knowledge Quarter will enable us to build on thriving connections between our world-class institutions, local businesses and communities.”

As well as established organisations, the Knowledge Quarter includes The Francis Crick Institute, now under construction, which will be a leading global centre for medical research, and Google, which is to build its new UK headquarters in King’s Cross.

Clustered around King’s Cross, the Euston Road and Bloomsbury is an incredible range of knowledge resources and expertise, ranging from the world’s earliest books and manuscripts to the latest fashion and creative designs and cutting-edge medical research.

Together, members of the Knowledge Quarter employ over 30,000 people, turn over more than £2bn, work with 3,500 volunteers, and serve more than 8m visitors annually.

The Knowledge Quarter is governed by a Board of nine organisations: the British Library, the British Museum, Camden Council, the Wellcome Trust, Art Fund, Guardian News and Media, the Royal College of GPs, UCL and the University of the Arts.   The other partner organisations make up a Steering Group that manages the Knowledge Quarter’s activities.


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Notes to Editors

Membership is open to organisations within a one-mile radius of King’s Cross that are actively engaged in the advancement and dissemination of knowledge.

Our partners include:

  1. Aga Khan University
  2. Art Fund
  3. British Library
  4. BMJ
  5. British Museum
  6. Camden Council
  7. Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
  8. CILIP (Chartered Institute of Information and Library Professionals)
  9. Connected Digital Economy Catapult
  10. Design Council
  11. Foundling Museum
  12. The Francis Crick Institute
  13. Futurelearn
  14. Google
  15. Guardian News & Media
  16. Impact Hub Kings Cross
  17. The Institute of Ismaili Studies
  18. Institute of Physics
  19. Kings Place
  20. London Canal Museum
  21. London Universities Purchasing Consortium
  22. Macmillan Science and Education
  23. MRC Technology
  24. NCUB (National Centre for Universities and Business)
  25. The Place
  26. Royal College of General Practitioners
  27. Royal College of Physicians
  28. Royal Veterinary College
  29. The School of Life
  30. SOAS, University of London
  31. Somers Town Community Association
  32. University College London
  33. University of London
  34. Wellcome Trust
  35. Westminster Kingsway College

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