HC Deb 27 November 1968 vol 774 cc489-90
16. Mr. Biffen

asked the Minister of Technology what is the estimated number of personnel with scientific or engineering university degrees or degree equivalents etr ployed in research establishments of the Ministry of Technology.

Mr. Benn

Approximately 2,850.

Mr. Biffen

What is the Minister doing substantially to reduce this very large number? Will he initiate a policy of sub-contracting to private industry much of this research so that it may be pursued in a much more commercial atmosphere?

Mr. Benn

We are encouraging more research in industry. On the defence side we have been able to get a reduction. On the civil side, the position is being held. As our industrial policy develops and bigger corporations come into being, I want to see as much research as possible done in industry for the reason mentioned by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Dobson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a lot of useful and decisive work is being undertaken in the research establishments of his Ministry, much of it of great use to industry, and that this reduces the prices of the ultimate products?

Mr. Berm

There is no doubt that the value of the research done in Government establishments, not least the A.E.A., has been of enormous importance to the nation. But I think that everyone who has thought about this matter has realised that the transfer problem, of getting the work directed towards commercial ends and the product of that being applied commercially, is easier if one can clear one's links with industry.