Wellcome priorities

July 31, 1998

IT IS indeed welcome that the government's comprehensive spending review has released a much needed extra Pounds 600 million for research infrastructure in universities (THES, July 24).

The influence of the Wellcome Trust in enabling this windfall has been rightly lauded, not least because of the trust's own Pounds 300 million contribution to the infrastructure fund. It is certainly a singular coup for any charity to secure a Pounds 300 million subsidy from government so that public funds can be channelled to the particular priorities in biomedical research favoured by the Wellcome's trustees. The eligibility rules for the disbursement of the infrastructure fund are awaited with interest. At least one (unnamed) research council head has already voiced their concern, with the quotation "the question is: who's gearing who?" Keith Snell Scientific secretary Institute of Cancer Research University of London, Sutton

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