The head of a north-east university’s medical school has admitted he is “disappointed” to lose a team of highly-sought after researchers.
Earlier this week, The Press and Journal revealed that 16 staff, including five professors, have been plucked from Aberdeen University’s fungal group unit.
It is understood they have followed Professor Neil Gow to Exeter University, who left the north-east to take up a role as deputy chancellor last year.
Fears had been raised that the departure would have a damaging impact on the institution’s reputation as a world-class centre for research.
Professor Steve Heys, the head of the school of medicine, medical sciences and nutrition, said it was never positive to lose staff but stressed that the number was relatively small with 871 people in the department.
And he also said his hope was that the university could continue to collaborate with the departed academics, who are expected to continue their work down south.
“Academics coming and going is a routine part of university life,” he said.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
“The reason is for that is based on what’s happening at the time, where their interests are and different facilities’ areas of interest.
“It’s happened to us before and it happens at every university, it’s something we also do as well.
“The fact our researchers are wanted by other universities is a measure of the quality that we have here.”
The unit studies a range of health issues, from life-threatening diseases affecting the developing world to everyday conditions such as athlete’s foot.
The university has 600 researchers employed across the various disciplines taught.
Prof Heys insists the future is positive for the university and revealed he was in the process of recruiting for the planned £4.5 million cancer research facility in the city.
The university hopes to make the city a world-class destination for studying the disease.
They have been supported by Friends of Anchor, who managed to raise £1m through its hugely successful Dream Big campaign.
“We already have the first professor on board with two researchers and another professor and more researchers in talks.
“Sixteen is a small number but obviously we don’t want to lose anyone.”