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Primate research facility at 307 Huntingdon Road: Notice

27 October 2003

The Council wish to respond to the remarks relating to the proposed primate facility at 307 Huntingdon Road which were made in the Eighth Report of the Board of Scrutiny (Reporter, 2002-03, p. 1274) and at the Discussion of that Report on 7 October 2003 (Reporter, 2003-04, p. 72). The Council also wish to comment on the present situation relating to the proposed facility. They will respond fully to the Board's Report and other remarks made in the Discussion at a later date.

The Board have argued that the Report of May 2000 misled the Regent House by not disclosing the details of the research to be performed in the facility. Detailed descriptions of academic work to be carried out are not always included in Reports on proposed new buildings or facilities and, in this instance, there were additional considerations for the welfare and security of staff to whom the University has a duty of care. The Council are of the view that it should continue to be the case that the Regent House are not invited to discuss the specific details of scholarly or experimental work to be conducted in proposed new facilities, although it will, of course, continue to be open to members to seek answers to legitimate questions at the Discussion of any Report.

The Council recognize that, in respect of the proposed primate facility, the financial circumstances have changed since the Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF) application was submitted in 1998 and since the planning appeal in 2002. The estimated costs of the project have increased due to inflation and regulatory changes, and the financial position of the University has deteriorated. A financial risk assessment has revealed a significant shortfall in the construction costs and in the recurrent costs of running the facility. The Council remain assured of the academic case underlying the project but consider it necessary that the means of managing the financial risks be investigated with the funding bodies. The Council will ensure that the Regent House are properly informed of the outcome of these considerations and of other developments regarding the proposed facility.

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Cambridge University Reporter, 29 October 2003
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