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Natural History Museum to build state-of-the-art research centre following £180m cash injection from UK government


London’s Natural History Museum (NHM) is set to build a new science and digitisation centre, following a £180m (US$210m, €194m) commitment from the UK government.

The announcements, which were made earlier this month, saw the chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak pledge £30m a year in funding over the course of six years for the new centre.

Described as a ’world-class research centre’, the facility will strengthen the UK’s position in tackling challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity, biodiversity loss, and emerging diseases.

It will be home to approximately 40 per cent of the museum’s collection, as well as a series of laboratories, digitisation suites, technology-enabled collaborative research spaces. Computer and conservation laboratories and workspaces for digital scholarships will complete the offering.

As well as building the facility, the funding will enable the museum to digitise its collection of more than 80 million specimens, safeguarding it for future generations.

“This very welcome investment in research and development will maintain the museum’s position as a global leader of natural sciences research and create a pioneering facility which will prove invaluable in the worldwide effort to find solutions to the planetary emergency,” said Sir Michael Dixon, director at NHM.

“Enabling major international scientific collaboration, this new facility will generate big data and the application of cutting-edge analysis of the world’s most significant natural history collection.”

"The centre will allow our 300 scientists to further their research into the biggest challenges facing the planet and humanity- from global and national biodiversity loss and sustainable land use to food security, disease transmission and ensuring we have the right natural resources available for transition to a zero-carbon economy.

"Future-proofing our collection has never been more urgent. Its vast scale explains our past, helps us chart a path for the future and the data that can be generated from it will inform future environmental policies and plans.

“The government’s investment will enable us not only to make our collections more accessible to a global audience but to help other museums across the Uk do the same.”

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