Letter: Not that special

March 22, 2002

While glad to be included under "heavy hitters" in your piece on post-research assessment exercise funding losses ("Heavy hitters winded by huge budget cuts", THES , March 8), it is only because we are a "specialist institution" that we are identifiable.

Having increased our RAE score in every subject area, the loss of £500,000 that you reported is modest in comparison to many of our sister schools. The cut of less than 2.5 per cent of our total research income, which has doubled over the past four years, will be seriously damaging but manageable. All in medicine are suffering a relative reduction in resource.

Being identifiable benefits us in some league tables (best for medical education - The Guardian 1999 and 2001 or for graduate employment - 100 per cent) but not others. Neither good nor bad league tables are very reliable. We aspire to be a quality hitter if not a heavy one. Either way, we are not disproportionately winded.

Robert Boyd
St George's Hospital Medical School

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