Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from Professor Grahame Bulfield, University of Edinburgh

  I would like to make a few additional comments to those of our Principal, Professor Timothy O'Shea, on the future of the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR).

  I consider it essential for the longer term future of NIMR that its important research work becomes embedded in universities with strong biological and medical research capabilities and track records. It is essential for biomedical research, especially in the post-genomic era, not to become isolated and to be able to interact across a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. In addition, biomedical scientists need to be in close proximity to their clinical colleagues for an understanding to develop, which will lead to efficient translation of research into clinical practice.

  I say this from the experience of 15 years as Director of Roslin Institute, which was removed from a University Campus in the 1980s to a green field site, much to its detriment.

  One caution . . . the Medical Research Council (MRC) must ensure that a translocated NIMR does not become seen as a creature of one University and continues to operate as a national resource. The MRC has, however, successfully achieved this in other cases over many years with, for example, the Laboratory of Molecular Biology on the University of Cambridge's Hill Road site.

  If the issue of location of NIMR is not dealt with now, it will reoccur at frequent intervals over subsequent years.

23 November 2004

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