The new chief executive of the Medical Research Council has assured researchers of his support.
Sir Leszek Borysiewicz - or "Borys" as he is more likely to be known - has wasted no time seeking to reassure basic researchers that he will do all he can to ensure their work is protected under his watch as the new chief executive of the Medical Research Council.
Sir Leszek, previously deputy rector of Imperial College, took up the four year post on Monday. He replaces Colin Blakemore, who has left to pursue his own research at Oxford University.
"My view is you don't rob Peter to pay Paul," he told The Times Higher in response to concerns that have been circulating among medical researchers that moves to improve how the UK translates medical research into heath benefits could come at the expense of basic research.
"It is my intention to do everything I can to ensure basic science is protected. I want to support science across the whole spectrum. This applies equally to basic and translational - it is the only way we are going to make strides forward," he said.
Sir Leszek, a doctor with a background in immunology, infectious diseases and vaccine development, was knighted in 2001 for his research into developing vaccines, including one to prevent the development of cervical cancer. He was born and bred in Wales and studied medicine at the Welsh National School of Medicine. He has worked at hospitals in London, Cambridge, The Gambia and Wales. He was professor of medicine and head of the medicine department at the University of Wales, Cardiff, before joining Imperial College in 2001, first as head of the faculty of medicine and then, from 1994, as deputy rector.
Universities Secretary John Denham said Sir Leszek was "the ideal person to take the helm at the MRC and nurture biomedical research in the UK".