R&D in the UK

More than 8,000 Lilly employees are engaged in research and development, across 55 countries worldwide. Our UK R&D base at Erl Wood in Surrey openend in 1967 and was Lilly's first R&D centre outside the US.

Today, Erl Wood is now the  company’s biggest research operation outside of the U.S and has played a key role in some of the company’s most important scientific breakthroughs, including the discovery of Lilly’s most successful medicine, olanzapine.

The 650 staff at Erl Wood come from over 50 different countries worldwide and work across a range of disciplines, including drug discovery, pharmacology, pharmacovigilance and statistics.  The scientists based here follow a potential new medicine from its discovery in the laboratory through clinical trials before it can be licensed for use.

Research Partnerships

As well as offering paid placements to undergraduate students in sciences such as chemistry and biology, Lilly also collaborates with PhD and post-doc students, drawn from higher education establishments across the world. This collaboration enables students to access world-class facilities and technology at Lilly research centres.

Our Latest Investments

Lilly has a strong track record of investing in R&D in the UK, investing 1.9bn in UK R&D in the past decade. At a cost of £5.4m, our newest new research office building opened in 2012 and is home to 130 staff.

Lilly was proud to receive Carbon Trust Standard accreditation for energy management and carbon reduction in 2009. As part of Lilly’s ongoing commitment to hit environmental targets, the new research building has been designed and constructed by local organisations and will use 60% less energy compared to a traditional office building and:

  • uses low energy lighting
  • has been designed to maximize use of natural light
  • has improved insulation, including Argon filled double glazing and sealing the building to twice the required air tightness
  • uses waste heat from the cooling system to create hot water for sinks
  • has a high efficiency heating system using air source heat pumps.
Learn more about the research at Erl Wood.
Learn more about transparency and clinical trials
Learn more about how Lilly works with Healthcare Professionals