Imperial College is reversing London's medical brain drain with the appointment of Christopher Edwards, dean of Edinburgh University's faculty of medicine, as principal of its new medical school.
The college's existing medical school, St Mary's, is to merge with Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, the National Heart and Lung Institute and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, and will have more than 2,000 students and 600 academic staff. The NHLI merges with Imperial next week, while the other mergers should be complete by 1998.
Professor Edwards, a former senior lecturer in medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital, who left London in 1980 to become professor of clinical medicine at Edinburgh, said: "I am looking forward to the challenge of creating the best medical school in London, if not in the United Kingdom."
He takes up his appointment in November, and will be responsible for fostering academic links across the college and developing the school's teaching and research.
The college has secured funding for a new Pounds 61 million biomedical sciences building which will combine medical science teaching and research with Imperial's traditional strengths in science and engineering. The building, on the South Kensington campus, is jointly funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Department of Health and Imperial itself.
Medical students will follow a new curriculum which will capitalise on the new school's hospital base and on the college's science, engineering and management departments. Some medical courses will also be available for scientists and engineers.