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Report of the General Board on the establishment of a Nycomed Amersham Professorship of Clinical Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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

1. Medical imaging plays a fundamental role in medical diagnosis, forming an essential link with many branches of clinical research and also with the work of the National Health Service. In recent years, major developments in medical imaging, such as ultrasound and nuclear medicine, have led to the development of new research approaches. However, and not withstanding the importance of these developments, it is widely accepted that the major opportunities for future research lie in the field of magnetic resonance imaging (also known as nuclear magnetic resonance). This technique is poised to become the pre-eminent diagnostic tool for all medical imaging, and may ultimately replace most conventional x-rays, leading to new approaches in diagnosis and to therapy.

2. The Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine have given a high priority to academic developments relating to medical imaging. A Professorship of Radiology was established in the Faculty of Clinical Medicine in 1977, and recent developments have included the establishment of a Professorship of Nuclear Medicine, and new University Lectureships at Consultant level in the Department of Radiology. The Faculty Board consider that the Clinical School is now well placed to develop further teaching and research in magnetic resonance imaging. Research opportunities exist for collaborative work in this field with other University institutions, such as the Departments of Oncology and Medicine, and with the Clinical School's Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre. Imaging is used in the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos as a means of demonstrating the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of cells, while the principles of radiology are taught to clinical medical students. As a result of its close links with Addenbrooke's Hospital, the Department of Radiology also plays an important role in the postgraduate and professional training and education of doctors.

3. The Faculty Board have informed the General Board that, in order to provide the academic leadership required to further develop this important discipline, it would now be appropriate for a Professorship of Clinical Magnetic Resonance Imaging to be established in the Faculty of Clinical Medicine. The Faculty Board believe that the establishment of the Professorship would strengthen existing programmes of teaching and research. The person appointed would be expected to attract a considerable level of research grants and other external funding.

4. The General Board have accepted the case made by the Faculty Board. Nycomed Amersham plc, a major health-care company, have agreed to donate at least £120,000 a year, to meet the full cost of the Professorship for five years in the first instance. Nycomed Amersham plc have signified their intention to fund the Professorship thereafter fully for the remainder of the tenure of the person appointed. However, they are not in a position at this stage to provide a guarantee beyond the first five years but intend to review the funding arrangement on a three-yearly rolling basis, under which three years' notice would be given of any intention to withdraw, or reduce, their financial support. The Faculty Board have obtained the agreement of the Addenbrooke's NHS Trust that should funding from Nycomed Amersham plc be terminated or reduced, the full cost, or any shortfall, would be met fully by the Trust. During the period that the Professorship is supported on Nycomed Amersham funds, Addenbrooke's NHS Trust have agreed to fund an unestablished Lectureship, at Consultant level, to support the work of the new Professor. The Faculty Board have assured the General Board that no additional costs would fall on general University funds. The General Board are also assured that suitable accommodation for the Professor is available and that secretarial support will be provided from funds available from the NHS. The Board are satisfied that an appointment at this level will be likely to attract a strong field of well-qualified candidates. The Addenbrooke's NHS Trust have agreed to award an honorary Consultant contract to the Professor and to provide access to the appropriate clinical facilities.

5. The General Board accordingly propose that the Nycomed Amersham Professorship of Clinical Magnetic Resonance Imaging be established in the University for one tenure from 1 April 2001, and assigned to the Department of Radiology. They have agreed to concur in the view of the Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine that the election to the Professorship should be made by an ad hoc Board of Electors, and that candidature should be open without limitation or preference to all persons whose work falls within the general field of the title of the office.

6. The General Board recommend:

I. That the generous benefaction of Nycomed Amersham plc be gratefully received.

II. That a Nycomed Amersham Professorship of Clinical Magnetic Resonance Imaging be established for one tenure from 1 April 2001, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Department of Radiology.

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.