§ Mr. Forman
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, in the light of the recommendations of the Spinks report, the University Grants Committee is taking any special action to promote the development of biotechnology in universities.
§ Mr. William Shelton
The University Grants Committee has decided to commit additional money to support biotechnology in selected universities, in principle up to a possible total of £800,000 per annum. Following consultation with the research councils the committee has offered the University of Birmingham, the University of London—for University College, London—and the University of Manchester institute for science and technology additional grants of £100,000 per annum earmarked for three years to develop further their work in biotechnology. These grants are intended to enable the institutions to strengthen the discipline base of the subjects which contribute to biotechnology, with particular emphasis on the engineering disciplines, and the forging of the inter-disciplinary links notably between these disciplines and the biological sciences; to promote links and collaboration with industry; and to support activities in both teaching and research, but primarily at the postgraduate level, including short courses and post-experience courses. The committee considers that to achieve these objectives new posts will need to be created. It expects to approach other institutions shortly.
The programme announced here is not the total UGC support for biotechnology—many universities have biotechnological activities supported through the normal channels of block grant.