§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what are the priority areas for industrial research that have been identified by NEDO, the Science and Engineering Research Council and the Advisory Council on Applied Research and Development; what resources these will need; and which British firms will be involved in these projects.
§ Mr. Butcher
Each of the organisations mentioned from time to time draws attention to priority areas for industrial research but it does not produce single comprehensive lists of such items.
The National Economic Development Office maintains a continuing dialogue through the economic development committees and the sector working parties with industry to identify particular research needs within individual industrial sectors. This work is often jointly financed by NEDO, the industries themselves and by my Department.
The Science and Engineering Research Council has identified priority areas and given effect to these decisions by creating directorates in marine technology, biotechnology, polymer engineering and the teaching company scheme, which operates mainly in the production engineering field. The Alvey programme will bring together the work of industry, the Ministry of Defence, the SERC and my Department in the field of advanced information technology. The SERC also has a number of specially promoted programmes in fields such as robotics, energy and materials.
The Advisory Council on Applied Research and Development has, over the last five years, published a number of reports that focus attention on particular technologies and on mechanisms for encouraging innovation in industry. Many of the recommendations of these ACARD reports have been followed by Government initiatives which have assisted a large number of British firms. There have been eleven ACARD reports to date, namely:The Applications of Semiconductor Technology (1978)—ISBN 0 11 630807 9.Industrial Innovation (1979)—ISBN 0 11 630808 7.Joining and Assembly: The Impact of Robots and Automation (1979)—ISBN 0 11 630810 9.Technological Change: Threats and Opportunities for the United Kingdom (1980)—ISBN 0 11 630812 5.Computer Aided Design and Manufacture (1980)—ISBN 0 11 630814 7.R & D for Public Purchasing (1980)—ISBN 0 11 630815 X.Biotechnology (1980) (with Royal Society and the Advisory Board for the Research Councils)—ISBN 0 11 630816 8.Information Technology (1980)—ISBN 0 11 630818 4.Exploiting Invention (1981) (available from ACARD).Facing International Competition: The Impact on Product Design of Standards, Regulations, Certification and Approvals (1982)—ISBN 0 11 630783 8.The Food Industry and Technology (1982)—ISBN 0 11 630822 2.Improving Research Links Between Higher Education and Industry (1983) (joint with ABRC)—ISBN 0 11 630784 6.
The Government take account of the views of all these bodies in planning the allocation of resources for research and development, but it is not possible separately to identify those resources needed for the areas previously 201W mentioned. All firms are eligible to apply for support for research and development within the criteria of the various Government schemes.