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|
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Health over the projected costs of project, which is currently estimated at £57,000, but these concerns have since been withdrawn based on the proposed funding plan to be implemented by the Institute.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.