HC Deb 24 May 1966 vol 729 cc79-80W
Mr. John Wells

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how many departments there were in the John Innes Institute three years ago; and how many there will be in September;

(2) what is the name of the director of the John Innes Institute; and what are his qualifications and present functions;

(3) if it is proposed to move the John Innes Institute to Norwich; and how many heads of departments will be provided for after the move;

(4) if the John Innes Institute will be established at Norwich as an institution or as a series of departments under the University Grants Committee;

(5) what steps he will take to recover the capital invested by the Agricultural Research Council in buildings and equipment for the John Innes Institute at Bayfordbury in the last 21 years;

(6) in view of the request by the John Innes Trust to allow the terms of their trust to be altered, if he will take steps to submit this request to the High Court.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

The Director of the John Innes Institute is responsible to the Governing Council for the programme and general management of the Institute. The post became vacant in February and, pending the appointment of a new Director, Dr. E. E. Cheesman, C.B.E., A.R.C.S., D.Sc., is acting as Director temporarily.

In 1963 there were five scientific departments in the Institute: one concerned with Physiology and Plant Culture was wound up in 1963 on the retirement of its head; the work of another (Potato Genetics) has been transferred to the Scottish Plant Breeding Section. There are three now (Genetics, Cell Biology and Applied Genetics) and it is expected that there will be three in September.

The John Innes Institute is part of the John Innes Charity and is now regulated by Schemes made under the Charitable Trusts Acts. A new scheme is under discussion between the Trustees, the governing Council of the Institute, the Agricultural Research Council and the University of East Anglia. The Scheme envisages that the Institute will move to Norwich in association with the University of East Anglia. It is intended that the Institute will maintain its identity and will have three heads of department. When the proposals are finalised a draft Scheme will be published and any objections that may be made will be considered. Proceedings in the High Court will not be necessary.

If the Scheme is approved all movable equipment of any value will be moved to Norwich. There is no question of seeking to recover from the Trustees capital grants made to the Institute in the past: it is proposed that the sale of the property at Bayfordbury, which was originally purchased with funds provided by the Trustees, and the application of the proceeds towards meeting the costs of the move should be authorised by the Scheme.