Photo of the building of the NMR facility

The Henry Wellcome Building for Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy was launched in 2004 as a national facility for biomedical research by the Wellcome Trust and Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Key Events


Michael Overduin was recruited by Ian Trayer, Alan Rickinson and William Doe, and successfully applied for funding to acquire the 900 and 800 MHz NMR spectrometers and construct the building.


The NMR spectrometers were purchased from Varian Inc, representing the single most expensive sale of NMR systems in Europe.Artist's rendition of the NMR building designed in 2002 by Berman Guedes Stretton.

The NMR building's modular design by Berman Guedes Stretton was commended by Austin Williams in the Architect's Journal (19/9/2002).


The construction was begun by AWG Construction in July with nonferromagnetic materials, anti-vibration pads and all critical services duplicated. The building was finished 13 months later, and was featured by Geraldine Faulkner in the Contract Journal (25/9/2004).


The 500, 600 and 800 MHz NMR systems were installed, and the 900 MHz magnet was delivered. 

The BBSRC Research Equipment Initiative awards the “Establishment of a European High Throughput NMR Centre for Metabolomics and Ligand Discovery”  to purchase a high throughput screening station and upgraded 600 MHz NMR console at HWB•NMR.

The inaugural symposium “Magnets, Macromolecules and Medicine in the New Century” on 2 Nov 2004 was opened by a rousing lecture from Professor Richard Ernst, who was awarded the Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in 1991.

Andrew Peet's pioneering research on childhood brain cancer by magnetic resonance spectroscopy at HWB•NMR is reported in the press across Europe.


The 900 MHz NMR system was installed and accepted, and HWB•NMR was recognized as a training centre for Metabolomics and Oncology research by an EU Marie Curie award.

A Wellcome Trust Equipment Grant is awarded to purchase a 800 MHz cryogenic probe.

The design of the HWB•NMR was covered in the November 2005 issue of ‘Architecture Today’.


HWB•NMR was one of five large scale NMR facilities funded by the European Commission to provide open access to users from across Europe.

Funding from the BBSRC is used to purchase the world's first Actively Cooled Actively Shielded 600 MHz NMR magnet from Oxford Instruments and a 600 MHz cryogenic probe from Varian Inc. 

One of the world's first HyperSense(TM) dynamic nuclear polarization instruments was installed by Oxford Instruments Molecular Biotools Ltd.


HWB•NMR was selected by the RIBA Higher Education Quality Forum “Distinction by Design” and exhibited in a national exhibition of exemplary higher education buildings.