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National Institute For Medical Research

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will make a statement on the Medical Research Council's proposal to close down the National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill; [117004](2) what consultation there has been over proposals to close the National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill. [117005]

No decision has been taken regarding the future of the National Institute for Medical Research. The Medical Research Council is, at present, developing a long-term strategy for its major capital investments over the next 10 to 15 years, including the National Institute for Medical Research.The MRC informed all MRC Unit and Institute Directors of the decision to establish a Council Subcommittee to develop this strategy with further information on its terms of reference and membership—all Directors had the opportunity to comment on the consultation document when released on 4 April 2003. The Directors at the four sites were consulted over the six months taken to discuss and agree the strategy. The Directors at the four sites have had the opportunity to comment on the over-arching strategy and submit comments relating to their institutes. The draft strategy was released for general consultation on 4 April 2003 and the deadline for comments was extended to 26 May 2003.MRC has recently announced that, as a next step, they will be establishing an expert task force to include Council members, independent scientists from UK and abroad, and senior scientists currently working at NIMR. The task force will aim to accelerate further development of a vision for a strong scientific future for NIMR. This will include consideration of, and consultation on, a broader set of options for the size and location of NIMR. Establishment of the task force emphasizes the MRC's commitment to continued stakeholder consultation and to consideration all the options for the future of the NIMR.