HC Deb 31 January 1964 vol 688 cc99-102W
Mr. Crossman

asked the Lord President of the Council and Minister for Science what steps he has taken to implement the recommendations made by the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy to stem the emigration of scientists from this country; and, in view of the time taken by the National Incomes Commission to deal with the question of university teaching salaries, if he will now give particular attention to the problem to prevent more scientists going to the United States of America.

Mr. Hogg

Research experience overseas is intrinsically desirable and should not be discouraged. I take it that the Question refers to more permanent types of emigration.

As already announced, I have authorised the Research Councils to pay to university scientific departments an additional £200 per annum in respect of each holder of a post-graduate research studentship or fellowship. With the rising numbers of post-graduate research workers this will provide an increasing measure of support to university research.

The procedure for awarding research grants has been re-examined and steps have been taken to reduce delays to a minimum.

The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research is prepared to consider applications for post-doctoral fellowships from scientists who propose to leave for research experience overseas, and who would wish to take up their fellowships on their return.

Improvement in the scale of technical assistance for university research was recommended also by the Robbins Committee, and is being considered in that context.

The question of increasing the number of senior posts in universities is closely related to questions of university salaries, and must therefore await the report of the National Incomes Commission, whose work is now well advanced.

Steps to facilitate the return of scientists and technologists to this country after research experience overseas, by the work in particular of the Joint Interviewing Board, acting on behalf of the Civil Service Commission, the Atomic Energy Authority, and the Central Electricity Generating Board, are being progressively improved. Successful candidates may now be paid their fares, and those of their families, to the United Kingdom. Starting with interviews now in progress, the Board has arranged to pass on to the appropriate industrial concerns in this country the details of any candidates who wish this to be done, and for whom the Board has no suitable vacancies. In addition, D.S.I.R. is giving the Board authority to appoint a number of suitable candidates interviewed in America to D.S.I.R. fellowships, without reference back.

The problem of the emigration of scientists to the United States has been a matter of continuing concern, and the Government are taking all steps open to them, short of some form of legal control of the movement of scientists out of this country, which I am not prepared to entertain. The main answer to this problem, however, so far as it is soluble by action in this country, is the articulation and implementation of a scientific policy best adapted to our national requirement. In this connection the expansion of universities as proposed in the report of the Robbins Committee, the growth of the work of the Research Councils, which is continuing, the continuing increase in demand for scientists and engineers in both privately and publicly owned sectors of industry and Government Departments are themselves probably the most effective means of controlling permanent emigration.

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