University professors' salaries should be doubled, the House of Commons science and technology committee was told this week.
Sir Keith Peters, head of Cambridge University medical school, told the committee that an outstanding academic was expected to move and set up home at a university for a salary of about Pounds 41,000. "We need to double the salary of the professoriate," he said. "About Pounds 80,000 a year seems appropriate."
Sir Alec Broers, Cambridge's vice-chancellor, said the university could not pay enough to attract researchers from industry or abroad. "Americans just laugh at us," he said.
At the moment Cambridge has a margin for discretion in professorial pay of about Pounds 5,000. But Sir Alec said it would like to offer professors up to Pounds 20,000 more.
His comments came as Cambridge dons petitioned senate to make such payments public and payable at the discretion of a committee, not the vice-chancellor. The proposed change will be subject to a ballot of the academic community this month.