In 2019, the London Institute was designated an Independent Research Organization, becoming Britain’s first private research centre in the physical sciences to compete with universities for Research Council funding.
We are supported by research grants from the EU’s Horizon 2020, the European Innovation Council, DARPA, the US Department of Defense, the Ministry of Defence, the Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK. We also receive funding from the City of Westminster, British foundations and global firms in strategy, biotechnology and artificial intelligence.
The London Institute supports basic research in physics, mathematics and the theoretical sciences. At a time when science is increasingly driven by demand for short-term impact, the Institute plays a unique role in safeguarding curiosity-driven research, which has, time and again, led to the most far-reaching breakthroughs.
The Institute does not teach or award degrees. It is a rare place where scientists can dedicate themselves full-time to unlocking the secrets of the universe and our role within it. This enables them to make more foundational discoveries: a virtuous circle that attracts further investment.
We seek new insights not merely because they are useful, but in order to enrich the world of ideas, which has a beauty of its own. The motto of the Institute is “truth, beauty”. This reflects the observation that the most beautiful discoveries tend to be the most enduring. We steer clear of research fads and are wary of unchecked open-access publishers.
The Institute fosters collegiality in order to exceed the sum of its parts. Its members work in the building and are aware of each other’s research so that they can help frame, carry out and communicate it. They promote the success of their colleagues and the prosperity of the Institute as a whole.
Alongside its scientists, the Institute employs staff drawn from software development, design, journalism, strategy and finance. They play a central role in funding, communicating and translating the Institute’s discoveries. We work as hard to recruit talented non-researchers as we do researchers.
How scientific stories are told and visualized plays a decisive role in the uptake of discoveries. With the help of our staff, we publish papers that not only inform but inspire. We publicize our discoveries as well as publish them so that others are aware of our work and can build on it. Our extensive website showcases our papers, projects, events, funding and spin-offs.
The London Institute strives to do more research for less investment. We do not receive student fees or government subsidies. Instead, we cover our costs entirely through grants, donations and business investment. We continually revisit how we organize research so that we maintain a competitive advantage in doing it.
To fund our ambitious projects, we are developing a science of funding science. We stay abreast of the full range of international funding agencies, their interests and their odds. We share funding opportunities and contribute to each other’s grant applications in order to submit strong proposals fast that can be readily recast for different funders.
Technological innovation is speeding up, but slow funding cycles are causing basic science to fall behind. We approach discovery with a sense of urgency often lacking in academic research. We work to minimize the time from curiosity to commission and are on the lookout for faster ways to fund bold ideas.
The Institute suspends the distinction between pure and applied research. Many of our projects bear directly on technology and business, and we embrace collaborations with firms looking to apply our insights. Our business ties also help us learn from experienced business leaders and maintain market efficiencies.
We regularly collaborate with the US Department of Defense and the Ministry of Defence, which accounts for a third of our income. Our defence-savvy board includes the former Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Defence. We welcome working with defence agencies to enhance national security and maintain technological superiority.
The Institute does not lay claim to its scientists’ IP. For researchers who foresee an application fit for market, our technology incubator, LIMS Ventures, provides the space and skills needed to launch their product. Because the researchers and incubator are under one roof, we can quickly turn today’s discoveries into tomorrow’s business.