The foundations for the Beatson Institute were laid at the end of the 19th century when, in 1890, a new cancer hospital was opened in Glasgow. Sir George Thomas Beatson – a surgeon of considerable talent - soon became head of the institution and in 1912 established a research department.
In 1967 – under the directorship of Dr John Paul – the department became the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research and moved to its present location at the Garscube Estate in 1976. Prof John Wyke became Director in 1987 and worked to develop links between the Beatson Institute and the University of Glasgow – in particular with the departments of Medical and Radiation Oncology. Prof Karen Vousden was appointed as Director at the end of 2002.