Science is in safe hands

May 14, 2004

Fears about the future of research in the Department of Health are likely to be calmed by the appointment of a strong successor to Sir John Pattison, the department's director of research, who is soon to retire. No announcement has been made, but sources close to the department say that Sally Davies, Sir John's popular deputy, has clinched the job after an impressive interview last week.

Most agree that she has a tough time ahead, not least in ensuring that her £540 million research budget is spent on science rather than administration or hospital beds. Perhaps this explains why top academics including David Gordon, dean of the faculty of medicine at Manchester University, and Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, principal of the faculty of medicine at Imperial College London, are rumoured to have turned their backs on the post when approached by headhunters.

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