Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Annex 1

MRC FORWARD INVESTMENT STRATEGY (FIS) PRINCIPLES 2003

  The main principles are as follows:

    —  Importance of appropriate two-way academic, clinical, and industrial linkages.

    —  Ease of on-site interdisciplinary collaboration (adjacent buildings/facilities within walking distance; shared focal areas positively beneficial).

    —  Issues of added value/opportunity cost (ongoing investment must be rigorously assessed against the possibility that it is a call on resources which could be deployed to greater effect elsewhere).

    —  Articulation of an optimal size for MRC institutes/centres. For example, in order to meet the requirements of the above template, those not embedded in university settings may have to be much larger to achieve critical mass. Those embedded in a multi-disciplinary campus should remain internally cohesive and well-focused, albeit heavily engaged on a wide range of on-site collaborations with shared infrastructure.

    —  Financial flexibility—this will be a key factor for MRC in future in retaining competitive edge and ability to move quickly to capitalise on new scientific opportunities.

    —  Focus on fewer locations with a view to providing first rate infrastructure and critical mass for training/career development. Not a major policy shift—almost 60% of MRC funding is already focused on only six sites across the UK. However, MRC would want to retain scope to support high quality research wherever it can best be done.


 
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Prepared 8 February 2005