Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


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

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