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Report of the General Board on the establishment of a Department of Clinical Neurosciences

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. In this Report, the General Board propose the establishment of a Department of Clinical Neurosciences which has featured consistently as a high priority within the Clinical School's strategic plan.

2. Within the Clinical School work in clinical neurosciences is presently undertaken in the Departments of Medicine, where a University unit of Neurology incorporates the Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, and Surgery which has a Neurosurgery unit. Another significant grouping within the scope of the Clinical School is to be found in the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre. Neurological research covers a wide variety of fields ranging from experimental and human demyelinating disease and behavioural neurology to neurodegeneration and vascular neurology. This is complemented by the Brain Repair Programme which focuses on strategies for prevention of brain damage and restoration of structure and function in focal and diffuse diseases of the central nervous system. Neurosurgical research is focused on advancing the care of critically ill patients with acute and chronic brain injury, from their initial presentation through to recovery from coma and to the final outcome. Invaluable support for this work is provided by the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre and its range of facilities which include imaging, advanced computing and multiple resonance physics, and radiochemistry and cyclotron facilities. This state of the art equipment, together with outcome studies and mathematical modelling, enables the Centre to work on the development of new strategies for brain protection and repair.

3. The very close interaction between the above groups is supported by strong links with other areas of medical expertise in the Clinical School, for example geriatric and cardiovascular medicine, anaesthesia, clinical pharmacology, and psychiatry. Collaborative research is also increasing rapidly with Departments within the Schools of both the Biological and Physical Sciences and the School of Technology. Meanwhile, the Neurosurgery and Neurology units contribute significantly to the provision of NHS clinical services in East Anglia. Senior members of staff contribute to the teaching of medical students on the clinical course, as well as for the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos. In their role as Honorary Consultants within the NHS, they fulfil major responsibilities in teaching and training doctors in the early stages of their careers and in providing opportunities for them to undertake research. The units both have active postgraduate student programmes.

4. The Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine have represented to the General Board, however, that it would now be opportune to establish a Department of Clinical Neurosciences within the Clinical School. This would formalize the present ad hoc collaborative arrangements for neurology and neurosurgery and provide a framework to support robust strategic planning and operational management. In reaching this view, the Faculty Board have taken full account of the past, and growing, success both in teaching and research, of each of the constituent groups. However, the Faculty Board have recognized that the pattern in both research and clinical practice is changing rapidly with an ever-increasing emphasis being placed on interdisciplinary activities. They have therefore concluded that considerable benefit would be gained by formalizing the existing matrix of research collaborations since integration of existing strengths in neurobiology, imaging, physics and computing, clinical medicine, epidemiology, and molecular and population genetics should result in even more productive research than has been achieved to date. This in turn should enhance opportunities for obtaining major external funding. Benefits should be gained through economies of scale, and the prevention of work duplication. Bringing together expertise across an extended range of disciplines in basic and clinical neuroscience will also benefit the co-ordination and delivery of teaching for undergraduates on the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos and the Natural Sciences Tripos, as well as medical students.

5. The General Board have accepted the case put forward by the Faculty Board especially since the consolidation of the four groups into one structure replicates the new arrangements for the Addenbrooke's Neurosciences Clinical Directorate. The Department would fall within the scope of the Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine and the Head of Department would be a member of the Faculty Board ex officio. The Department would comprise four divisions each managed, as under the present arrangements, by a Professor. Proposals which require the approval of the University for the future assignment of existing Professorships and Readerships to the Department of Clinical Neurosciences are set out in Recommendation II to this Report. Subject to the approval of this Report, the General Board will reassign each of the remaining offices, with the concurrence of the present holders, to the new Department. The relevant members of administrative and research staff will also be reassigned to the new Department. The reassignment of such posts and their current holders has been discussed with the individuals concerned and agreed in principle, subject to the approval of the Report's recommendations.

6. The General Board have given careful deliberation to the above proposal and consider that the establishment of the new Department will facilitate significant developments in both teaching and research in the clinical neurosciences, and should promote opportunities to attract considerable external funding. These developments would consolidate the Clinical School's present ad hoc status as an internationally renowned centre of clinical neuroscience.

7. If the proposals outlined in this Report are adopted, the only additional cost to the University would be in the order of £10,000 a year, for payment to the Head of the new Department. The Faculty Board have proposed that most of the costs of providing comprehensive administrative and technical support for the Department would be met through the redeployment of existing resources and personnel. The Faculty Board are of the view however that there will be substantial financial benefits from the establishment of the Department through opportunities for developing new models for funding initiatives in partnership with both organizations within and external to the University and also with the National Health Service.

8. As a consequence of the proposal to establish the Department, amendments to certain regulations will be required. These are listed in the Schedule attached to this Report.

9. The General Board recommend:

I. That a Department of Clinical Neurosciences be established within the School of Clinical Medicine with effect from 1 January 2004.

II. That with effect from the same date, the following Professorships and Readerships be reassigned to the Department of Clinical Neurosciences:

The Professorship of Stroke Medicine from the Department of Medicine.

The Professorship of Neurology (1988) from the Department of Medicine.

The Professorship of Behavioural Neurology (MRC) from the Department of Medicine.

The Professorship of Experimental Neurology from the Department of Medicine.

The Professorship of Neurosurgery (1990) from the Department of Surgery.

The Readership in Imaging Sciences from the Department of Surgery.

The Readership in Molecular Neurology from the Department of Medicine.

SCHEDULE

Subject to the approval of the recommendations in this Report, the General Board have approved amendments to certain regulations, with effect from 1 January 2004, as follows:

(a) The general regulation for the composition of Faculty Boards (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 545):

SCHEDULE 1. The composition of the Faculty Boards

By amending the entry for the Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine so as to read:

Faculty BoardClassesTotal
 (a)(i)(a)(ii)(b)(c)(d)(e)(f) 
Clinical Medicine120210312342

(b) The regulations for Departments and Heads of Departments (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 553):

By inserting in Regulation 3 the following under the Faculty of Clinical Medicine:

Clinical Neurosciences A person appointed in accordance with Regulation 2.

(c) The regulations for payments additional to stipend (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 655):

By including Clinical Neurosciences in Schedule 3.

5 November 2003ALISON RICHARD, Vice-ChancellorN. O. A. BULLOCKD. W. B. MACDONALD
 SARAH AIREYH. A. CHASEROGER PARKER
 JOHN BELLJESSICA CHILDSKEITH PETERS
 T. L. BLUNDELLANDREW CLIFFS. J. YOUNG
 WILLIAM BROWNM. J. DAUNTON 


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Cambridge University Reporter, 19 November 2003
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.