HC Deb 15 May 1956 vol 552 cc1820-1
40. Mr. Callaghan

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, how far it is the policy of the Government to encourage research associations to undertake development work; and to what extent this is being carried out.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works (Mr. J. R. Bevins)

Development work is an important part of the work of research associations which the Government encourage by means of grants paid by the D.S.I.R. These grants supplement the contributions made by industry. The resources devoted to development are decided by the councils of the associations, which are made up predominantly of industrialists but include representatives of the Department. The associations as a whole spend approximately one-quarter of their budgets or over £ 1 million on development.

Mr. Callaghan

In view of the fact that our scientific manpower resources are so scarce, would it not be a good idea to encourage much more development to be done through the research associations for the benefit of industry generally? Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there has been a recommendation to this effect. What are the Government going to do to put a little impulsive effort behind it?

Mr. Bevins

Yes, my noble Friend is very well aware of the recommendation made by the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy, and several development companies have been formed by research associations. In addition to that, we are starting to try out civil development contracts with scientific research associations.

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