Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


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

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