Friday, 1 April 2016

EXCLUSIVE: 8ft statue of Professor Alicia El Haj to be erected at the GHRC.

After receiving a petition from staff and students at the Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine, the Institute's Executive Management Committee has decided to commission an 8ft (2m 44cm) statue of Professor Alicia El Haj.

A petition calling for the statue was started by a group of enthusiastic PhD students and Post Doctoral Research Assistants at the Institute.  They felt that some form of lasting tribute to the work carried out by Professor Alicia El Haj, the Institute's Director, was needed to immortalise her contribution to science and to the Institute.  The petition quickly took off attracting more than 1600 signatures.  Overwhelmed by the feeling of support for such a tribute, the Institute's Executive Management Committee debated the request and decided unanimously in favour of accepting it.

When asked about having a larger than life statue built of herself, Professor El Haj replied, "Well, it's about time!"

An artists impression of what the statue might look like in front of the Guy Hilton Research Centre
A local artist, Mr A.P. Fool, has been commissioned to build the statue, which will be cast is bronze and mounted on a marble stone.  The statue is to be positioned at the front of the Guy Hilton Research Centre and will be visible to all visitors to the building.

Concerns were raised by the Faculty of Health over the projected costs of project, which is currently estimated at £57,000, but these concerns have since been withdrawn based on the proposed funding plan to be implemented by the Institute.  Essentially a levy will be placed against all members of ISTM.  Known as the "T Account Tax", each member will contribute a proportional amount from their personal Teaching Accounts.  By and large though, the response to this arbitrary funding method has been overwhelmingly positive - a tribute in itself to the popularity of Professor El Haj.

The statue is due to be completed, in place and greeting visitors, by the beginning of September this year.

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