Memorandum from Dr Peter J M Openshaw,
Imperial College London
1. The present and future prosperity of
the United Kingdom is based on its intellectual, technical and
scientific strengths. This has given rise to many scientific achievements
which have helped develop modern medical practice, a significant
number of these have been contributed by NIMR, with five Nobel
Prize winners. The closure of NIMR would basically be an opportunity
for reducing funding of biomedical science at a time when there
has never been a greater need for such an institution.
2. It is vital that London, the capital
city, has a world-class institute devoted to medical research,
acting as a focus for academic collaborations.
3. Fragmentation of the expertise at Mill
Hill leaves the field of infectious diseases vulnerable to expected
and unexpected events. With the emergence of pubic health threats
such as HIV, SARS and bird influenza, it is essential that we
have a world-class institute with excellent and comprehensive
animal facilities and containment laboratories designed for category
3 and 4 pathogens. Recreation of these facilities in central London
or elsewhere would be illogical, expensive and wasteful.
I am not convinced that the option to keep Mill
Hill open has been properly evaluated and its potential impact
on UK biomedical research assessed.
12 November 2004