The InterLab Forum was established in 2006 as the vehicle
through which six key public-sector research establishments could
develop and enhance the nation's capability in emergency response
and disease control through sharing knowledge.
It has developed since then, and is now simply known as
Interlab. The membership now comprises seven
laboratories from five government departments, and law
enforcement has been added to its range of expertise.
The laboratories are:
Interlab shares a common objective of providing science and
technology-based research and advice to policy-makers in
government, to other public- and private-sector organisations and,
in some cases, direct to the public. Between them the
laboratories can bring to bear the expertise of over 9,000
scientists, technologists and engineers, many with international
reputations as leaders in their field.
Interlab members use their extensive partnering networks to
maximise the opportunities that exist for knowledge transfer and
exploitation of intellectual property. In all cases they are
committed to scientific excellence and ensuring best value in the
work they do.
Areas of common interest
Aligning strategies covering:
- emergency response modes - to emergency situations,
capabilities and surge capacity
- scientific and technical issues - e.g. modelling and simulation
of disease control and climatic change; or detection,
decontamination and remediation of hazardous materials, dangerous
pathogens and ionising radiation
- infrastructure and facility development/sharing
- joint working and/or sharing data.
Sharing information and experience about:
- people and capability development, technical career
structures and succession planning
- relationships with universities and other research
- commercial exploitation, if appropriate.
Maintaining an open and effective network
- facilitate communication - through meetings, technical
events and workshops
- provide scope for effective co-operation.
In the event of a disaster occurring at a member's laboratory,
the others will endeavour to provide assistance in the form of
facilities, equipment and staff.
High-profile collaborative projects
- 2009 Swine Flu pandemic: HPA led the UK
response to the pandemic supported on the veterinary side by VLA.
Emergency response support was provided by Cefas and Dstl.
- Highly pathogenic avian flu outbreak in a Suffolk
turkey farm, February 2007: VLA led on the emergency
response with back-up investigation and high-containment facilities
provided by Fera and the HPA.
- Exposure/contamination of polonium 210 following the
poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, November 2006: HPA led
on the health implications of the poisoning, with an emergency
testing capacity provided by Cefas and VLA.
- The Buncefield fire, 2005: HPA and HSL
provided large-scale sampling of air quality, which confirmed
minimal risk to public health and surrounding communities, and Dstl
provided gas modelling.
For further information about Interlab contact
+44 (0)1502 524370.