HC Deb 05 June 1940 vol 361 cc845-6
37. Mr. Stokes

asked the Minister of Supply what steps he proposes to take in order to organise the research workers of the country and indicate to them in their various localities the kind of research which is most needed in order to help the national effort?

Mr. H. Morrison

Comprehensive steps have already been taken to organise the national research effort. The chief research agencies are the research establishments controlled by the Supply and Service Departments and the research establishments and associations of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. All these activities are closely co-ordinated for the production of all the requisites for National Defence, and there is pooling of effort between them in a vast range of subjects. In addidition, there are the medical and agricultural research activities, respectively, under the Medical Research Council and the Agricultural Research Council, which are also closely linked with the research work of the Supply and Service Departments. Finally, a large volume of systematic work is being carried on at universities and in industrial laboratories, of which the utmost possible advantage has been taken by those responsible for the organisation of research in the Departments concerned. The response given by all those concerned has been most gratifying in spirit and productive in result.

Mr. Stokes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in one of the greatest universities in this country more than 200 research workers, many of them of the first order in their particular fields, have not been approached in this matter at all? Is he aware that the person in charge of the scientific research department in his own Ministry has only the qualification that he is eminently qualified in corrosion and in nothing else?

Mr. Morrison

I could not answer the last question without notice. With regard to the first question, I can only say that, if additional research is needed and there are research workers available, I will certainly give consideration to utilising their services. On the other hand, I would be averse to the utilisation of research beyond what is necessary in the public interest, because that would be a waste of labour, but I will certainly consider whether any research is necessary in addition to what is already being done.