HC Deb 30 July 1964 vol 699 cc1777-8
26. Lord Balniel

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation if he will make a statement on the assistance provided by his Department for developing countries in the field of research.

Mr. R. Carr

I am publishing today a White Paper giving an account of the work of my Department in this field.

Lord Balniel

Could my right hon. Friend say what fields of research he is especially encouraging, and will he give particular attention to the possibility of encouraging research in economic matters because, although this is not the most dramatic form of research, it is probably the most useful to the underdeveloped countries?

Mr. Carr

At present, the allocation of resources in research has a somewhat historical ring about it. About two-thirds goes on natural resources and about 20 per cent. goes on health research. This is very important, of course, but I should like to see increasing attention given in future to economic and social matters. Perhaps the announcement I made about extra economists at two universities may be a first step in this direction.

Sir B. Stross

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned medical research and he gave the figure of 20 per cent. Is he aware that, unless we staff our own medical research centres better than we are doing, it will very often not be possible to find staff who can be spared and allowed to go overseas for two or three years? Will he bear this in mind and realise that it is quite crucial if we are to play our part properly?

Mr. Carr

I shall certainly take note of such part of that question as is within my responsibility. What we can do and what we are beginning to do is, while admitting that resources are scarce, to make the maximum use of those which exist.