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National challenges

Life sciences and health

The convergence of physical sciences to address challenges in life sciences and health are helping to accelerate the discovery and development of new medicines, diagnostics and therapies, to deliver patient benefit

Working to deliver personalised medicine, new treatments and earlier diagnosis

In line with the industrial strategy, there is a drive for greater translation of technology development and improved patient access from academia to industry into the healthcare system.

As the UK's National Measurement Institute, NPL plays a leading role in maintain UK's position as a world leader in translating life sciences research, accelerating access to new diagnosis and treatment techniques, and helping to support rapid adoption of advanced healthcare technologies across the country. We tackle some of the world's biggest health challenges, from reducing attrition rates in drug development, to treating cancer and dementia, to creating new antibiotics.

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Case study

Improving reproducibility in science data


Case study

Supporting the NHS during the Covid-19 Pandemic


Case study

Validating virtual measurements of 3D models


Measurement challenges

The major sector-specific technical and measurement priorities identified through industry consultation are to:

  • Accelerate innovation and access to new drugs and therapies (e.g. cell and gene therapies)
  • Accelerate innovation and access to new, lower-cost medical devices and technologies
  • Support implementation of engineering biology and advanced manufacturing technologies
  • Increase the confidence and reproducibility in diagnosis and treatment efficacy both in and outside of the clinical setting
  • Increase use of better quality life sciences and health data

About us

Our team combines professionals with experience in industry, consultancy, non-profit organisations, science and innovation. The team sets NPL’s life sciences and health strategy, assessing UK and international market drivers and policy developments. We work closely with our scientists to inform NPL’s approach to current and foreseeable industrial challenges. We create partnerships with key stakeholders from the private, public and non-profit sectors to help drive innovation. Contact us to find out more about our life sciences and health work.

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We are working to shape the future of healthcare, to get new and more effective diagnostic tools, treatments, and medical technologies to patients more quickly.

Michael Adeogun - Head of Life Sciences & Health

NPL's key activities

We are working to address key industry and healthcare challenges, for example:

  • Drug discovery and development (including addressing the challenge of drug attrition)
  • Early diagnosis and treatment of priority diseases (including quantitative and multi-modal imaging)
  • Digital health
  • Medicines manufacturing
  • Synthetic biology

Building a 'Google Earth' of cancer

The Grand Challenge, a new Cancer Research UK initiative, aims to overcome the biggest challenges facing cancer researchers in a global effort to beat cancer sooner Funded through Cancer Research UK's Grand Challenge scheme, NPL's Professor Josephine Bunch leads a group of international and multidisciplinary chemists, physicists and biologists from the UK to develop a reproducible, standardised way to fully map tumours with extraordinary precision.

Google earth project

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Find out more about the range of work we do in life sciences and health.

Work with us

Our research and measurement solutions support innovation and product development. We work with companies to deliver business advantage and commercial success.
Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070