Four NHS hospitals are to form an academic health sciences partnership with University College London. UCL Partners will be made up of the university and four NHS trusts: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Royal Free Hampstead and University College London hospitals. The group, one of the largest partnerships for biomedical research in Europe, will support more than 3,500 scientists, senior researchers and consultants. It has a combined annual turnover of about £2 billion. Edward Byrne, head of the medical school, said: "Many of our academics already have strong links with the hospitals. The main change will be that the hospital trusts and universities will now share joint responsibility for the research mission." Integration of research programmes in the NHS and academia is essential in taking basic research advances "from UCL to clinic", he added.