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Report of the General Board on the establishment of three Professorships of Cancer Research

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

1. As the Vice-Chancellor reported in his address to a Congregation of the Regent House on 2 October 2000, the Addenbrooke's '2020 Vision', which embraces a major University-led expansion in clinical research, is now firmly launched. A fundamental part of this plan focuses on the widely recognized potential for significant developments in the field of cancer research within Cambridge made possible by the facility to harness the world-class basic science available within the University to address practical problems of cancer treatment and prevention. To this end, a threefold strategy has already been adopted by Addenbrooke's NHS Trust and the School of Clinical Medicine; namely, to strengthen the NHS clinical service in oncology, to enhance the strong platform of basic research within the Department of Oncology, and, finally, to attract into this environment the best possible applied research.

2. The opportunity offered by these proposals has been widely recognized already and, to date, over £60m has been committed from external sources, both for new buildings and to support cancer research in general over the next five years. At present, a major refurbishment of the Addenbrooke's Clinical Oncology Centre is in progress, together with an expansion in the relevant NHS clinical staff element, an increase in the number of medical doctors in training, the ongoing development of the regional cancer network, and the building of the appropriate infrastructure required to support the proposed developments in clinical research. The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University, through the generosity of Hutchison Whampoa, have already funded a new research building (the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre, see the Council's Second Report on the development of the Island Site at Addenbrooke's Hospital (Reporter, 1998-99, p. 239)) which will open in 2001, and will be occupied by University research groups and a new MRC Cancer Cell Unit. In the meantime, a new Centre for Genetic Epidemiology, focusing primarily on cancer, has been established jointly between the Department of Oncology and the Institute of Public Health at the Strangeways Laboratories supported on funds from the Cancer Research Campaign (CRC), the MRC, and the National Lottery. These developments will be enhanced significantly by the establishment of a new Cancer Centre within the Clinical School which will involve a close partnership between the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), the CRC, and the Clinical School. It is proposed to accommodate this Centre in a new building, for which a significant proportion of the funding has been made available to the University through generous benefactions from Hutchison Whampoa, a private donor, and the ICRF. The building, which is expected to open in 2004, will house University research units together with a very substantial research group from the ICRF and it is anticipated that this co-location will offer many opportunities for collaborative work. In addition, and to ensure the requisite leadership within the University to take forward this initiative, the same private donor has offered a sum of £2m to support three Professorships in cancer research for a period of five years, on the understanding that the costs thereafter would be met from University funds.

3. The Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine have advised the General Board that it would now be appropriate to proceed with the establishment of these Professorships, one of which would be at the Consultant level. The Professors would have core responsibilities for furthering the development of the proposed world-class centre of excellence in cancer research in Cambridge and, where appropriate, for strengthening clinical practice relating to cancer research. The Professors would be expected to provide leadership in their particular areas of expertise and to offer teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

4. The Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine have accepted the responsibility for ensuring that permanent funding is secured to support the three Professorships after the five-year period financed by the benefaction. The Faculty Board have assured the General Board that suitable accommodation for the Professors is available and that the necessary support and facilities can be provided. The Addenbrooke's NHS Trust have agreed to award an Honorary Consultant contract to the person appointed to the Professorship to which clinical responsibilities are attached. The General Board are assured that the Professorships will attract a strong field of well-qualified candidates; they have agreed to concur in the view of the Faculty Board that election to the Professorships should be made by ad hoc Boards of Electors and that candidature should be open without limitation or preference to all persons whose work falls within the field of oncology.

5. The General Board recommend:

I. That a Professorship of Cancer Research be established in the University for one tenure from 1 April 2001, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Department of Oncology.

II. That a second Professorship of Cancer Research be established in the University for one tenure from 1 April 2001, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Department of Oncology.

III. That a third Professorship of Cancer Research be established in the University for one tenure from 1 April 2001, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Department of Surgery.

1 November 2000

ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-Chancellor

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Cambridge University Reporter, 22 November 2000
Copyright © 2000 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.