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".

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Lecturer in Islamic Studies QATAR UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Social Studies QATAR UNIVERSITY

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Boats docked in Port Hercule, Monaco

Richard Murphy praises a bold effort to halt tax-dodging by the 1 per cent

It’s a question with no easy answer, finds James Derounian

  • Man walking, University of Oxford campus, photo negative

Donald Brown shares the experiences that prompted him to talk about ‘institutional racism’ at Oxford

  • Egg timer and clock showing deadlines

Meghan Duffy thinks you can get on in academia without being chained to your desk

  • James Fryer illustration (19 November 2015)

With no time for proper peer review and with grade inflation inevitable, one academic felt compelled to resign