North Eastern muscle

March 2, 2007

Your article "South secures research cash" (February 16) unfortunately omits any mention of medical research in the North East and focuses entirely on the failure of Manchester's bid for a new Biomedical Research Centre as part of the new National Institute for Health Research.

It is reasonable to point out that there were two successful bids from outside the Golden Triangle - one playing to Newcastle University's strength in ageing and health, the other to Liverpool University's in tropical medicine. In the past year or so, two of the four centres for the new National Health Service R&D specialist research networks have also been sited in Newcastle, together with one of the four new Medical Research Council experimental medicine centres.

It is true that the five comprehensive biomedical research centres have been sited in the South. However, it would be unfortunate if your readers thought that what was a very carefully managed and independently peer-reviewed competition had been skewed, as you suggest. We have little doubt that Manchester will succeed in a future bid. In the meantime, we should recognise that the North is making, and will continue to make, a very significant contribution to medical research.

Christopher Edwards,
Vice-chancellor

Oliver James
Pro vice-chancellor and provost, faculty of medical sciences, Newcastle University.

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