Doubts over UK research head

Parliamentary committee questions MRC chair's leadership

Stephen Pincock
Jul 30, 2007
An influential British parliamentary committee has expressed serious doubts about the suitability of John Chisholm, chair of the Medical Research Council since last October, to lead the research agency.In an unusually scathing report released Tuesday, the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology described Chisholm as "vague" and "evasive" and said that he showed "a lack of focus and clarity.""We had very serious doubts about whether Sir John is the right person to guide the MRC at such a critical time," Phil Willis, chair of the committee, told The Scientist. "It is now important that the government follows up on our report."The MRC is facing significant changes as it adapts to a new umbrella structure governing basic and clinical research, as well as coming to terms with new departmental structures brought in by new Prime Minister Gordon Brown. It will also soon appoint a new chief executive...

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