Memorandum from Professor Ian Diamond,
Research Councils UK
I am writing on behalf of the Research Councils
UK Executive Group in response to your call for evidence in relation
to the future of the MRC NJMR. The proposals for the NIMR were
brought by MRC to the RCUK Strategy Group where they were discussed
fully in conjunction with other requests for strategic funds.
It is one of the advantages of the RCUK governance arrangements
that we now have an open and transparent system for discussing
major new strategic initiatives within Councils and for formulating
advice to the Director General for Research Councils on the relative
priorities for funding. A fundamental element of this system is
that Chief Executives are able to debate the opportunities, strengths
and any weaknesses in each case, without second guessing the detailed
scientific and financial planning that has been carried out in
individual Councils. In other words we each rely on the integrity
and thoroughness of the strategic planning in individual Councils.
MRC would have been rightly criticised by other
Councils if proposals for the future of NIMR had come forward
for possible additional funding without a clear vision for the
future and that this vision was based on the necessary scientific
and strategic planning.
We hope the Committee will recognise the importance
of Councils continuing to plan strategically for major future
investments for the longer term. Ideally such planning and the
ultimate vision should command the support of all key stakeholder
groups. However in reality, in research as in other endeavours,
the Committee may need to recognise that this is not always achievable.
16 November 2004