Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from Dr Robert B Belshe, Saint Louis University

  I am Professor of Medicine and Molecular Microbiology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. I have trained both at the US National Institutes of Health and for one year at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill. Therefore, I have had an opportunity to view both the US premiere medical research institution and the British institution.

  Regarding the proposal to relocate the National Institute for Medical Research into central London, I would comment that it is not a very practical idea. The conduct of medical research often requires use of animals and specialised bio-containment facilities. Both of these specialised facilities are available at Mill Hill, but the large space requirements and security requirements would seem to be difficult to recreate in central London. Furthermore, the major costs in relocating these facilities into central London, in my opinion, would be better spent by upgrading the facility at Mill Hill. In my view, the important work that is ongoing at NIMR should be well-funded and supported and not be subject to threats of relocation in attempts to reduce costs, but rather reinvestment in an ongoing work at a very strong physical and academic facility is in order.

5 November 2004

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