Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from Anne McLaren, Gurdon Institute

  The National Institute for Medical Research is known throughout the world for the high quality of its biomedical science. Most of the decisions have recently been rated Alpha or Alpha*. Part of its strength lies in the very close collaboration between definite groups within the building. If it were to be split up into many multiple sites, the critical mass of excellence and cohesive culture would be destroyed.

  As for moving the Institute into central London and attaching it to a hospital; at present it occupies a unique place in the UK as the top centre for high quality basic and strategic biomedical research. To introduce clinical research and clinical trials into the Institute would alter its character substantially, lowering the focus and distracting attention from the goal of scientific excellence. There are many collaborative links already with clinical research workers, and there are surely better ways to achieve effective transition from lab to clinic.

  In addition, it would surely be hugely expensive to move the Institute into central London. I have never seen a good scientific justification as to why the MRC feels that something new has to be done with NIMR.

11 November 2004

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