HC Deb 26 February 1963 vol 672 cc138-9W
52. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science why the Hammersmith Hospital made a public appeal for funds for work in connection with the development of kidney grafting.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

I understand that the Hammersmith Hospital made no such appeal. An appeal was made on 28th December by Mr. W. J. Dempster, who is Reader in Experimental Surgery at the hospital's Postgraduate Medical School, which evoked a generous response. Mr. Dempster has received continuous support from the Medical Research Council since 1950 for his work at the Royal College of Surgeon's Buckston Browne Research Farm at Downe, at University College, London, at the Royal Veterinary College and, since May 1959, at the Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith.

In accordance with arrangements agreed between the Research Councils and the University Grants Committee in 1959, the M.R.C. wrote to all universities in November 1960 enquiring whether they would be willing to include in their estimates for the 1962–67 quinquennium provision for the support of certain research projects hitherto financed by the Council. In the event, while this project was among those listed for support from funds provided on the advice of the University Grants Committee, it was not accorded sufficient priority by the Medical School to qualify for support within the funds available.

This did not necessarily mean that the M.R.C. would not renew Mr. Dempster's grant when renewal became due for the Postgraduate Medical School had been informed by the Council that if they received insufficient funds for the 1962–67 quinquennium to maintain all the useful projects which they wished to take over, the Council would be glad to discuss any such cases with them. The Council normally makes grants for specific periods, and some three months before expiry the holder is always asked whether he wishes to seek further support. This practice has been followed in previous years as Mr. Dempster's earlier grants approached the date for renewal. As Mr. Dempster's grant was due to expire on 31st March 1963, a reminder was in fact sent to him on 27th December 1962, inviting him, if he so wished, to submit a report in application for a renewal of grant by 5th February 1963.

As Mr. Dempster made his public appeal on the day after the Council's reminder was posted, although he may not have received it, and has since replied to the effect that he does not require further support from the Council, there would appear to be no further action the Council should take.