Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


APPENDIX 27

Memorandum from Dr Robin Holliday

  NIMR has a very strong and successful tradition in research and such a tradition in itself provides very important impetus for future research. To put this in perspective one should consider the status of research institutes in the USA, such as the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It would be unthinkable to relocate such establishments because of their unique traditions of scientific excellence.

  The proposal that NIMR should be relocated is, in effect, stating that it is less successful than it should be, or that it does not deserve to be supported by taxpayers money. I believe neither of these views stand up to scrutiny, for the following reasons:

  1.  Members of staff have been awarded Nobel Prizes.

  2.  Many have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society.

  3.  There have been innumerable publications in the scientific literature (about one per day when I was there).

  4.  Scientists from all over the world have been attracted to and worked at the NIMR.

  5.  Staff have been invited on numerous occasions to international conferences and congresses.

  6.  There are unique facilities at NIMR, including transgenic mice, molecular studies of all kinds, nuclear magnetic resonance, the library.

  7.  Large numbers of graduate students have obtained their PhDs there and have been launched on successful careers.

  8.  Members of staff have edited many journals, and they continually review manuscripts submitted to other journals.

  9.  The location of NIMR allows easy access to central London, Cambridge and the Midlands.

  10.  There are excellent opportunities for collaborative research with the cancer laboratories at South Mimms, and also with the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control.

  11.  Last but not least, all Divisions and Laboratories are regularly assessed by reviewing committees, which are favourable in the great majority of cases.

  All these features of NIMR demonstrate that it is an research institute of the highest calibre with a very strong international reputation, and one that is worth every penny of taxpayers money.

  I am writing to you in the hope that the proposal to relocate the Institute will be abandoned. Such relocation would have very severe impact on existing staff, and it would greatly harm the tradition of excellence that has been built up over nearly 50 years. My only reservation is that there is no comprehensive archive which fully documents all the scientific initiatives and achievements during this period.

14 November 2004





 
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