Terminal diagnosis for UCL’s history of medicine centre

Wellcome Trust-funded unit set to close within two years. Zoë Corbyn reports

A renowned centre for the study of the history of medicine at University College London is to close.

The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, which employs 29 staff including 12 academics, as well as hosting visiting scholars, will shut within two years, according to a statement from UCL and the Wellcome Trust, the centre’s main funder.

It is understood that the two parties could not reach an agreement to renew its funding.

The centre operates mainly thanks to an £8.8 million grant from the Wellcome Trust covering the period 2005-10, which is due to expire on 30 September this year.

“In accordance with Trust practice, the closure of the centre will be phased over a two-year period, allowing time for discussion and planning with regard to the current staff,” the joint statement says.

The announcement will be a blow to UCL staff, students and the study of the history of medicine and medical humanities generally.

An academic unit dedicated to the topic has existed at UCL since 1966. The centre currently has 54 students, including 25 studying PhDs.


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