R&D in the UK

More than 7,000 Lilly employees work for Lilly Research Laboratories, spanning more than 50 countries worldwide. Our R&D in the UK is based at our Windlesham site in Surrey.

Erl Wood was opened in 1967, was the first R&D centre outside the US, and is now the  company’s biggest research operation outside of the US. Erl Wood has played a key role in some of the company’s most important scientific breakthroughs and was the location of the discovery of Lilly’s most successful medicine, olanzapine.

The 600 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.

Learn more about the research at Erl Wood.
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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.

Lilly’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) based at Erl Wood brings together a consortium of industrial scientists from Lilly and six leading universities:  University of Bristol, Cardiff University, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Kings College London and National University of Ireland at Maynooth.  Its mission is to improve the probability of clinical success for molecules targeted at neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Our Latest Investment
Lilly has a strong track record of investing in R&D in the UK, spending £130m in 2009/10.

At a cost of £5.4m, the new research office building opened in 2012 is our most recent significant investment in the UK 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.