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Latest coronavirus update - 20 March

The ICR logo on the exterior of the Brookes Lawley Building in Sutton

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is putting in place a series of measures to safeguard its staff and students in response to the coronavirus pandemic, while also seeking to minimise the long-term impact upon our life-saving research.

The health and safety of our staff and students remains the ICR’s top priority and we are following the latest advice for the UK from the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England. In line with this guidance, we have asked that all staff who are able to work from home should do so and are preparing to suspend research activities in our laboratories.

We have stopped all new ‘wet lab’ experiments but are still aiming to ensure scientists can complete ongoing experiments where possible. Our computational research, which constitutes a substantial proportion of our work, will continue as normal off site. 

Minimising long-term impact on research

In these unprecedented circumstances, we are striving to minimise the long-term impact on our research – including by protecting our research activities and samples from any shortages in supplies, prioritising maintenance of essential equipment and facilities, and ensuring the welfare of the animals used in our research.

At this unsettling time, we are liaising closely with our external partners, to ensure that we are joined up in our approach and able to take the most effective decisions to protect our people and our research. Together, we are working to ensure our clinical staff in particular can play their part in supporting the NHS as it copes with coronavirus – and we would like to thank everyone who is involved in these efforts.

The ICR is asking that all meetings and seminars, including any job or PhD interviews, should happen digitally wherever possible. We will be cancelling all other events, and have also cancelled all work-related travel.

'Adapting to the challenges'

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the ICR said:

“Our thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by the pandemic, as well as the healthcare staff, local communities and Government workers, who are on the front line working to contain this virus.

“We cannot know exactly what the future holds, but together we can do our best to adapt to the challenges. I would like to thank all our staff and students for the extraordinary skill and dedication that they continue to show in enabling us to understand cancer better and to help improve its detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

“We recognise that these are concerning times, and we would like to thank all of our donors, fundraisers and partners for their continued support as the situation continues to evolve.”

Any further updates will be shared in due course. 

Staff and students who need more detailed advice can find it on the ICR’s intranet at, available via your normal work login.


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