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
1. Members of staff have been awarded Nobel
2. Many have been elected Fellows of the
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
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
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