John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair

School of Clinical Medicine



Information for potential donors

Generous donations from many donors, particularly the John and Lucille van Geest Foundation, have contributed greatly to the success of the Brain Repair Centre. We have some development priorities, which are described below. However there are many ways in which donors can help us. We enjoy engaging with potential donors to find projects that are of mutual interest. In the past these projects have ranged from making a new clock to helping young scientists who are political refugees.  Please contact us to initiate a discussion. You may also contact us through the University Development Office; see below.

Future developments:

The ED Adrian building, which houses many of the groups which constitute the Brain Repair Centre, is fairly compact. The Centre’s success in attracting research grants and in recruiting the finest young scientists from around the world means that our building is full beyond capacity. The next stage in the development of the centre is to expand into new space in the current MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology as its members move to their new accommodation in 2013. The Brain Repair Centre currently has funding for two new academic Professors, who will be recruited after this move has occurred.

What the Centre needs:

We need funds to equip a major new laboratory space, which will house neurodegeneration research. The Centre receives sufficient research grant funding, but this money must be spent on specific projects, and cannot be used to establish  and equip a new laboratory. We are therefore asking for funds for state of the art scientific equipment. The equipment that we need is listed at the end of this document.

We need funds for PhD studentships in order to train the next generation of young scientists. The number of PhD studentships funded by the Medical Research Council and other organisations has been sharply cut in recent years. We receive applications from the finest young graduates from all around the world, but we do not have enough studentships to accommodate enough of these fine and talented scientists. PhD students are our investment in the future of Brain Repair, and we have an extraordinary record of training young scientists. Please help us to provide training positions so that we can continue to produce young scientists to work in Cambridge and around the world.


Ms Jackie Green, administrator, John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair,Robinson WayCambridge CB2 Ms Jane Clasby,University of Cambridge Development Office1 Quayside,Bridge Street,Cambridge CB5 



The John van Geest Brain Repair Centre is a division of the Clinical Neurosciences department  of Cambridge University.


What the University provides

12 of the 15 group leaders are paid by the University

Maintenance of the building

Heat and light


Library access

Computer network


Administration of grants and personnel


Veterinary assistance


What the University does not provide

All the research activity of the Centre is paid for from research grants, which provide £3.1M a year. This employs the post-doctoral fellows and PhD students, and provides research materials.

These grants come from the Medical Research Council, Engineering Research Council, Biology and Biotechnology Research Council, Wellcome Trust, European Research Council, EU Framework Programme, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Parkinson’s disease Society and many other foundations.

Research staff

34 post-doctoral fellows, 27 PhD students and 14 technicians are working in the Centre. Their salary and research costs are met from research grants.

Medical Research Council,

EPSRC, BBSRC                       19%

European Union                      21%

Charities and trusts                 44%

Industrial contracts                 16%

Administrative expenses paid by the Brain Repair Centre


2 secretaries

2 cleaners

Clinic nurse

These expenses are met through a grant from the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre and out of grant overhead payments from grants (around £100k a year).


Donations to the Brain Repair Centre. How much goes directly into research?

All the money given to the Brain Repair Centre is spent directly on employing young scientists and funding their research expenses. The University may charge a 20% administrative overhead on any salary component.

None of the Centre’s infrastructure and administrative costs are charged to donations. These are met by the University, by grants given specifically for this purpose, and from overheads on grants from the Medical Research Council and Industry.

Donations to the University for the setting up of permanent positions (lecturer, reader, professor) carry a 20% administrative overhead, paid to the University.

What the Brain Repair Centre needs now for its future development

1. Equipment for the new laboratories

Our department will shortly take over laboratory space released by the movement of staff from the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology into a new building. The Brain Repair Centre has been very successful in raising research grants, and is therefore very overcrowded. The new space gives us an opportunity to expand. Our new space has no scientific equipment. Research grants will pay for research, but not for equipping a whole laboratory. We therefore need funds to buy the equipment needed for our expanded research.

The cost of the new equipment will be £720k. At present we have raised £350k.

A list of items, any of which can have a name plaque attached is shown below.

2. PhD studentships

We receive enquiries from hundreds of undergraduates from around the world who want to come to Cambridge to study and do research for the PhD degree. Most of them are the brightest students from the world’s best universities. We only have one studentship a year to offer to our applicants. The others have to apply for the various studentships within the University and from Research Foundations. These are very competitive, and the application process is long. We lose many of our best applicants to other Universities and Centres that can make immediate offers. We need more of our own studentships so that we can attract the very best PhD students.

A single 3 year fellowship costs:-

£95,000 for EU students (£32k to fund a year)

£139,000 for non-EU students (£47k to fund a year)

To establish a named studentship in perpetuity costs £ 1.9M


3. New equipment for new laboratories in LMB Block 7

Equipment £1000
Fluorescence microscope 45
Fluorescence microscope 35
Transmission  microscope 12
Dissecting microscopes x 4 * 16 *
Inverted microscope 48
Small inverted microscope 4
Stereology microscope 52
Cryostats x 2 44
Wax microtome 12
Sledge microtome 12
Vibrotome 14
Light sources x 4 * 9*
Plate reader 42
Nanodrop 30
High speed centrifuge 32
Mini ultra centrifuge 48
Refrigerated centrifuge 10
Bench centrifuges x 2* 6*
Microcentrifuges x 5 10
Incubators x 8 40
Tissue culture hoods 24
Shaker incubators x2 15
Gel equipment 12
Gel power sources 6
Gel doc gel reader 30
pH meters x 3 3
Balances x 5 12
PCR machines x 3 12
QPCR machine 30
Water baths x 5 1.5
Ultrasound 2
Shakers x 5 1.5
Electroporators* 5*
Ovens x 5 5
-70 freezers x 4* 16*
-20 freezers x 10 9*
Fridges x 10 * 8*
Furniture* 10*
Computers x 20* 11*
Small equipment* 12*
      * already funded
Total 743