Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from Professor Andrew Read, University of Edinburgh

  I am commenting on this from my perspective as a malaria researcher. The Infection and Immunity group at NIMR is one of the best in the world, and in the case of my own speciality, is a jewel in the crown of UK—and indeed—world malaria research.

  I am unpersuaded that the costs of moving NIMR to the UC or Kings sites would be offset by any benefits which might accrue from being nearer to a hospital. In the case of malaria research going on at Mill Hill, there is nothing to be gained. Meantime, the excellent malaria groups at NIMR are in planning blight, and will have trouble recruiting their current people and hanging on to the best.

  Nothing I can see in any of the MRC documents makes a strong economic or scientific case for the move, and indeed, under the current arrangements, MRC has refused to consider a future at Mill Hill, so that the case for a move per se is NOT being considered. It is easy to imagine that if the money spent on a move went into investment in Mill Hill, things could be even better there. I urge the ST committee to recommend that a Mill Hill option be considered against the UCL and Kings options.

  Nothing in the way the MRC has handled this makes sense to me, unless there are expected to be considerable cost savings by moving, and given the costs of moving, this would seem only likely if the re-sited NIMR was smaller. Is this really all about shrinking one of the world's best medical research Institutes?

11 November 2004

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