AUT condemns UCL in row over research post

February 1, 2002

Members of the Association of University Teachers have condemned University College London for its treatment of Eva Link, an internationally renowned cancer researcher whose life work may collapse after a row about her research post.

In an emergency motion at the AUT winter council meeting last week, AUT members expressed concern that Dr Link may be forced to abandon her research into a promising new melanoma therapy because UCL failed to find her a permanent post after almost 20 years at the university.

The THES reported last October that Dr Link had been forced for almost her entire British career to rely on short-term contracts, outside funding and often the goodwill of her colleagues. Funding and goodwill have run out at UCL, and her laboratory mice are facing destruction, setting her work back years.

The motion condemned UCL managers' failure to offer Dr Link a tenured post and their "refusal to keep Dr Link in post even when funding was available".

It said that UCL had "ignored all representations which have been made by colleagues, senior clinical researchers, MPs and even the chair of the Commons Select Committee on Cancer, Ian Gibson" and that the union would "take any additional action deemed appropriate" to rectify the situation.

A UCL spokesman said: "Dr Eva Link was funded on external grants until 1995. During this time she was eligible to apply for lectureships at UCL if she wished to do so. In 1995, her salary funding was not renewed by the Cancer Research Campaign. UCL allowed her to retain laboratory space while she sought alternative funding either at UCL or elsewhere. In 1997, UCL decided that it could no longer allow Dr Link to retain laboratory space in this way. To try to assist Dr Link to find a position elsewhere, UCL provided her with a two-year research fellowship. Her fellowship ended in September 1999."

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