During the ‘golden age’ of British scientific research funding, that is, the two decades following the end of the Second World War, the two biologically orientated research councils, medical (MRC) and agricultural (ARC), would sometimes establish personal research units. Although staffed by career scientists, units differed from institutes in being small and personal, i.e. a small team of researchers, employees of the Council, would be attached to a distinguished research leader. The leader would usually be an academic, on the staff of a university, and would thus become an honorary director, but sometimes the director would be employed by the Council, and might then have an honorary academic position as well. Most units were located on a university campus, or more rarely within one of the Council's research institutes. Units were very effective scientifically, being both productive and economical; the ARC set up 24 during its history and in 1960, its peak period for units, it was supporting 15. However, the problems of redeploying staff, which arose when the unit's leader retired, emigrated or died, made them unpopular with administrators. When a unit was sited at a university the understanding had often been that the university would absorb the staff, but as university expansion came to a standstill this became impracticable. In later decades the ARC's units were gradually closed.