Memorandum from Professor Alan Gilbert,
University of Manchester
I write to you on behalf of the University of
Manchester, which has no direct interest in NIMR and has made
no bid for relocation of the Institute or any of its staff to
Manchester. We do however have an immense interest in the vital
national role that the NIMR plays.
As the largest University in the UK, by many
measures, we have recognised the great importance of co-location
of related research facilities, of establishing critical mass
research capability, particularly in science, and of the need
to couple biology with translational and clinical research in
order to deliver medical benefit. There are certainly very strong
scientific and clinical reasons to co-locate NIMR with a major
University which includes a medical school and a teaching hospital.
Indeed, we find it difficult to envisage how an institute for
medical research will be able to flourish in the 21st century
without such co-location. But such considerations do not necessarily
point to a location of the NIMR in the South East.
The Medical Research Council has engaged leading
national and international experts to review the future of NIMR
and has consulted widely. Such reviews do, nevertheless, sometimes
perpetuate status quo thinking on issues that might be better
resolved through more imaginative solutions. So without questioning
the bulk of the NIMR recommendations, I must report very widespread
disappointment in Manchester that further investment in the South
East has been preferred (once again) to the many excellent opportunities
in other regions of the UK.
17 November 2004