Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from Professor Amanda Fisher, Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Hospital

  My name is Amanda Fisher and I am an MRC employee (of > 10 years) and leader of a research team based at the Clinical Sciences Centre at the Hammersmith Hospital site in London. I am writing to express my concerns about the decision-making process behind proposals to relocate the NIMR.

  First I would like to say that over the last 15 years the NIMR has made truly outstanding contributions within the area of Life Sciences that underpin human health. It certainly rates among the top three institutes in the UK. This contribution is also evidenced by the fact that many former NIMR staff now head leading initiatives throughout the world. Example include Professors Rob Krumlauf (head of the Stowers Institute, USA), Jim Smith (head of the Gurdon Institute, Cambridge) and Frank Grosveld (Erasmus University, Rotterdam). Furthermore, successive peer reviews have consistently commended the NIMR for the exceptional quality and innovation of its multi-disciplinary research program.

  Despite this, NIMR has come under increasing pressure to relocate. I have seen very little rational evidence to justify the move—on either financial or strategic grounds. On the contrary, there are a number of reasons why it might be more prudent for NIMR to be restructured on its present site. One of these is the flexibility the Mill Hill site offers—particularly the option to expand (or contract) animal-based or nuclear magnetic resonance-based work, according to need. The present NIMR site is close to central London but unconstrained in terms of space. This offers an ideal opportunity for expansion over the next 20-30 years. I am dismayed that this option has not been fully explored by the task force. Personally I am still waiting to hear a coherent or persuasive argument for the relocation of NIMR.

  I hope that these comments are useful.

23 November 2004

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