Original Repository: Rockefeller Archive Center. Rockefeller Foundation Archives
Reproduced with permission of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Research Support as Topic
Director of Medical Sciences, 1930-1945
Memorandum on Queen Charlotte's Hospital (London) (March 9, 1937)
March 9, 1937
Dear Doctor Colebrook:
Though I missed seeing you at the time of a recent visit to London it delighted me to hear from Dr. Mellanby with what exceptional
enthusiasm he regards your work during the past few years at Queen Charlotte Hospital. You have in Mellanby a person warmly
appreciative of the work of yourself and your associates.
It is, furthermore, my own pleasure to tell you that we have seldom contributed to a single research undertaking which has
shown within the term of its duration such satisfactory results as have come from the project under your direction. No better
test case could be found for the question, "What does a demonstration grant for research really do? Does it encourage
institutions to support investigative work? Can the foundation expect highly successful research enterprises to be taken over
by British hospitals? Or is research always to remain forbidding and mystifying and too expensive?" (It would seem to
me that the Queen Charlotte Hospital research expenses will have saved ten times their cost in the next five years.)
It seems important for a few foundations to maintain their freedom of action, i.e., not to become permanently the source of
support of activities whose earlier stages deserved and received assistance. Only with such freedom of manoeuvre can we be
prepared to assume fresh obligations in some field relatively unproven or comparatively unexplored.
It is for this reason that we are not disposed after the expiry of research grants as long as seven years to renew or extend
assistance. As I have explained before we should not be prepared to continue our grant. And one could hardly name a recent
project toward which we have had the pleasure of contributing, where the results of the work have been better, and where we
can make so clearcut an inference from what happens at the termination of our aid.
I wish you the best of further success, Dr. Colebrook, and I thank you for the splendid work you are putting in and congratulate
you upon its results. If I could ever be of use in explaining to others the high opinion I have of your work I shall be exceedingly
content to try.