Cambridge's vision

January 30, 1998

The North report on Oxford University recommends that it could learn from Cambridge

Alec Broers, vice-chancellor, Cambridge University

"We need to be quite clear that those who pay the piper call the tunes. Such recognition of our dependence upon the state, an encumbrance not shared by our leading American competitors, points to the need for increasing self-reliance, a tendency clearly accepted in the importance attached to the effective work of our Development Office.

"We should seek to pursue our work within an autonomous community of scholars. But this will be possible only to the extent that there exist from some source the means for us to do so, and it seems to be an exercise in the gentle art of self-delusion to think that the days of the no-strings blank cheque will return.

"Among the key discussions I have initiated has been an attempt to look again at the mechanisms in the university for the enhancement of contacts with industry. In scale and complexity the issues have outgrown the original concept of the Wolfson Industrial Liaison Unit. I expect to bring forward proposals before long.

"The plans for the university's most significant expansion in its estate for generations, the West Cambridge Development, have moved forward rapidly during the year.

"Spectacular developments such as the collaborative arrangements with Microsoft and the generous donation from the William H Gates Foundation have captured the headlines, but there are opportunities opening up in all disciplines."

Source: Senate House speech 1997

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