The University of Leicester is consolidating its position as one of the UK’s academic centres for heart disease research by building a 2,200 sq m Cardiovascular Research Centre (CRC) at the city’s Glenfield Hospital.

Construction work will begin this month on the £12.6 million centre, which will effectively double available research space through a four-story extension to the hospital’s clinical sciences wing.

The wing already houses a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, set up at the hospital in April 2009 as a partnership between the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

The new CRC will include a Biobank capable of storing samples from up to 100,000 individuals, a Clinical Research Informatics Unit and a Data to Knowledge Unit.

Together these will capture, code and translate anonymised patient data for research, as well as accommodating an advanced information-technology link between the university and Glenfield Hospital.

The University of Leicester has committed more than £8 million of its capital resources to the project, which is scheduled for completion in February 2012. The university has also launched an appeal to raise over £4 million in additional funds to complete and equip the CRC building.