Oxford medical department Pounds 400,000 in red

January 13, 1995

Oxford University's department of medicine has a Pounds 400,000 deficit despite attracting outside research grants worth more than Pounds 10 million, ministers heard last week.

The debt means that there is plenty of money for ambitious research projects but none for basics such as heating, lighting and cleaning, said John Bell, head of the department.

His complaint is the latest in a battle over who should pay overhead costs at university research departments. The major charities have refused to include such costs in their research grants, saying that the money should be paid by the universities.

"The truth is that the whole programme is suffering. This is quite a serious crisis," Professor Bell said. The Wellcome Trust recently opened its centre for human genetics at Oxford at a cost of Pounds 25 million. "Things are just not happening in the new Wellcome centre because of lack of infrastructural support," he said.

Last week he gave evidence to Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for Health, and David Hunt, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, when they visited the Wellcome Trust to discuss brain drains and losses. The ministers said Britain is attracting medical scientists rather than losing them.

The trust assembled ten leading scientists from abroad. David Gordon, programme director at the trust, said: "You can't expect to attract good people from abroad without providing the inevitable substrate."

The scientists also called for improvements in salaries and career structures if researchers were to be attracted from abroad. Professor Bell, a Canadian who studied at Oxford before developing his research in the United States, said that he was trying to attract professorial-level scientists who would be leaving salaries of $100,000, (about Pounds 64,000). "But I can't get anybody appointed here on more than Pounds 30,000".

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 10 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Brexit, EU referendum

Joanna Williams voted Leave, and has been left disappointed by the academy’s reaction to the EU referendum result

Elly Walton illustration (7 July 2016)

Researchers in the liberal arts seem to have made it their mission to communicate in the most obscure fashion, says Zachary Foster

Daniel Mitchell illustration (14 July 2016)

Frank Furedi says the mournful mood on campus and the disparagement and silencing of Leave supporters betray an isolated scholarly class

Michael Parkin illustration (7 July 2016)

Rising immigration-related costs and lack of employer support send an unwelcoming message to international staff, says Jason Danely

People walk past second hand books for sale

Shift may be evidence that researchers feel they are increasingly judged on citations and journal impact factors