The Sainsbury Laboratory was founded in 1989 on the site of the John Innes Centre (JIC) which is located in the Norwich Research Park (UK), and is said to be Europe's leading plant biotechnology institute.
The Sainsbury Laboratory is a joint venture between Lord Sainsbury's Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the University of East Anglia, the BBSRC and the John Innes Council. Funding for the Sainsbury Laboratory is primarily through grants from the Gatsby Foundation.
The Sainsbury Laboratory researches molecular plant pathology and genetics. Although it is described as 'an independent laboratory', it is also said to be 'scientifically, physically and administratively linked to JIC.'
The Laboratory's research has attracted considerable commercial interest. Work there has been funded by Lord Sainsbury's biotech investment company Diatech, amongst others. Sainsbury Laboratory 'technology transfer' is largely managed through Plant Bioscience Limited (PBL), jointly owned by the JIC and Lord Sainsbury's Gatsby Foundation. PBL is described as 'a for-profit technology interaction and intellectual property management company specialising in plant and microbial science.' PBL's Chairman is Ed Dart.
The current Head of the Sainsbury Laboratory is Prof David Baulcombe. The other Senior Scientist is Prof Jonathan Jones. Prof Mike Wilson was formerly employed by the Sainsbury Laboratory. His research there included a project funded by Lord Sainsbury's company Diatech.
The Sainsbury Laboratory's work is overseen by the Sainsbury Laboratory Council which is required to report, on a six monthly basis, to the Gatsby Foundation. Half its members are Gatsby nominees.