Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


APPENDIX 75

Memorandum from Professor Grant and Professor Trainor, University College, London

  At its meeting on 29 July 2004, the Council of the MRC agreed in principle to relocate the National Institute for Medical Research at an academic/hospital campus in Central London. It asked our two institutions to submit bids to host the Institute. This decision followed the recommendations of a Task Force which had been set up to consider the future of the NIMR, and was confirmed at its meeting on 13 October. The bids will be considered at the Council's meeting on 15 December, when it is expected that a preferred bidder will be chosen. The issue will return to the Council in February when the detailed business case to be taken forward to the Office of Science and Technology will be considered.

  The future of NIMR is a matter of great importance to the development of biomedical science in the UK scientific community. We both share the MRC Council's view that to the greatest extent possible their decision-making should be through a transparent process. We wish to express our support for the principle behind the Task Force's recommendation and the Council's decisions to date. We also wish to express our confidence in the decision-making process established by the Council. The Committee can be assured that the MRC staff and its advisors have worked carefully to ensure that both institutions are able to present their best cases in such a way as to allow the Council to make a fair comparison between the two.

  The case for relocation was made clearly in the Task Force's report. Few would question the need to ensure that the full benefits of advances in medical science are reflected in advances in public health. The translation of basic scientific research into clinical practice must therefore be a high priority. This requires bringing the scientific and clinical endeavours into close proximity. For this reason NIMR's move from Mill Hill to an established and integrated hospital/research environment in Central London will result in a step change in the Institute's capacity to engage in translational research. Either site will enable NIMR scientists to participate actively in London's extensive networks of high-quality research as well as maintain national and international collaborations.

  We would regret any delay to the process established by the MRC Council. This would add to the current uncertainty and complicate the forward planning of our own institutions as well as NIMR. The proposed move will ensure that the public will get even greater value out of the considerable resources expended on scientific research and lead to important breakthroughs in clinical practice earlier and more efficiently than might otherwise be achieved.

23 November 2004





 
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