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Frontiers of Medicine in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1899–1940$
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Heather Bell

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207498

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207498.001.0001

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The Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories and the Organization of Research

The Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories and the Organization of Research

(p.55) 3 The Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories and the Organization of Research
Frontiers of Medicine in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1899–1940

Heather Bell

Oxford University Press

Opened in Khartoum in 1903, the Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories (WTRL) constituted the primary institution for scientific research of all kinds in Sudan. Sudan's exceptionalism in the matter of laboratory research was due to its scientific patron, Henry Wellcome, his fascination with imperialism, and his expansive belief in unfettered research. The WTRL's fundamental problem throughout its history was negotiating the boundary between research and practice, in the context of changing visions of research, and changing demands on practice. In this process, the interests of capital, first in the form of Wellcome and later in the form of Britain's cotton industry, were crucial. The work of Andrew Balfour, first director of the WTRL, and his successor, Albert Chalmers, established the relevance of research to practice so well that when government departments such as medicine and agriculture emerged from the First World War under civilian administration and committed to socio-economic development, they started demanding research support tied more closely to their needs and crucially, under their control.

Keywords:   Sudan, Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories, research, Henry Wellcome, practice, cotton industry, Britain, Andrew Balfour, agriculture, medicine

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