HL Deb 19 December 1967 vol 287 cc1361-3

2.45 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government—

  1. (a) the amount of Government grants to the Medical Research Council and the Scientific Research Council for the five years ending March 31, 1968, and the amount of the grants for 1968–69;
  2. (b) how many university students, graduating in the summer of 1967, had their applications to these two Councils for research grants rejected owing to the lack of money.]


My Lords, with your permission I will have the full figures circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT; but between 1963–64 and 1967–68 Government grants-in-aid to the Medical Research Council rose from £7,033,000 to £14,232,000. In the case of the Science Research Council, which came into being on April 1, 1965, the rise has been from £28,253,000 in 1965–66 to £36,584,000 in 1967–68. The amounts of the grants-in-aid for the Councils in 1968–69 are not yet available.

As regards the second part of the noble Lord's Question, if, as I assume to be the case, it refers to postgraduate research studentships, the answer is, none. There were 268 eligible applicants for the 238 Medical Research Council awards offered, and 2,284 for 1,994 Science Research Council awards. Thus 30 and 290 candidates respectively with the minimum qualifications were not awarded research studentships in 1967. This was because there was a surplus of eligible candidates over the number of research training awards deemed necessary.

The full figures referred to were as follows:

Total Government Grants-in-aid:

Medical Research Council:

1963–64 7,033,000
1964–65 8,753,000
1965–66 10,280,000
1966–67 11,885,000
1967–68 14,232,000

Science Research Council:

1965–66 28,253,000
1966–67 33,919,000
1967–68 36,584,000


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his reply, may I ask him whether the fact that graduates who are disappointed at not getting research grants and who apply to universities abroad seem to be able to obtain them, will be taken into account in assessing the grants in future, so that we can retain in this country those graduates and their ability?


My Lords, I think the noble Lord is jumping too quickly to conclusions. I take it that he has read the Swann Report where some consideration was given to the appropriate numbers, and in certain cases to the possible desirability of people not doing further research work which might divert them from going into industry. It is a very complicated subject, and I think that it would be better if the noble Lord were to study my reply and perhaps refresh his mind on the Swann Report. This is a complicated subject, but it has been accepted that there should be some element of competition in regard to some of these grants.