HC Deb 26 June 1973 vol 858 cc1305-6
16. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a statement on the number of universities in the United Kingdom undertaking research into the United Kingdom's energy requirements.

Mrs. Thatcher

I understand there are at least seven university institutions doing research of this kind.

Mr. Douglas

I thank the right hon. Lady for that reply. Will she address her attention to two matters? First, does she agree that the urgency of developing our offshore industry requires a great deal more resources of a university character to be devoted to research? Secondly, can she say whether the reviews of the central policy of the review unit, which has examined energy policy, will be transmitted to the universities?

Mrs. Thatcher

The universities are not normally slow to take up any views of that kind. I do not think that we need transmit them through the University Grants Committee. I am inclined to agree with the hon. Gentleman on the first part of his supplementary question.

Mr. Dalyell

Does not the right hon. Lady recognise that there is a problem and that, because of the nature of the quinquennium, universities are unwilling to finance comparatively new projects out of funds which many people in the universities think are allocated? Is there not a case, because of the importance of North Sea oil, for some special Government grant?

Mrs. Thatcher

No. It is reasonable to expect that from the quinquennial funds, which provide for a considerable expansion, the universities should put high priorities on those projects which can help commerce and industry.