AHSC is a shot in the arm

March 5, 2009

I write in response to the article "Imperial faces funding gap as merger takes toll" (19 February).

The creation of the Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) has indeed been a major undertaking over the past three years.

However, in medical units of assessment in the 2008 RAE, we had the second-highest volume of research activity assessed as internationally excellent or world leading.

We also doubled our research council expenditure for clinical medicine between 2004-05 and 2006-07, a rate of increase five times greater than that of our nearest competitor. In 2007-08, our faculty of medicine's research expenditure was £145 million, and we had the highest awarded spend of any UK medical faculty.

Rather than diminishing our standing, the AHSC would appear to have had a galvanising effect. I hope this factual information helps the unnamed vice-chancellor in the article in his understanding of medical research in the UK.

Stephen K. Smith, Principal, faculty of medicine, Imperial College London, and chief executive officer, Imperial College Healthcare National Health Service Trust.

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