§ Mr. Gerald Bowden
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has for the future administration of the state studentship scheme for postgraduate awards in the humanities; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir Keith Joseph
In response to an invitation from me, and following detailed discussions with the Department, the British Academy has agreed to undertake the administration of the state studentship scheme with effect from 1 April this year. The academy will act as my agent in administering the scheme, which will continue to operate under statutory regulations made by me. The general character of the scheme, including the arrangements for the selection of candidates for awards by a committee appointed by me, the number of awards made and the levels of grant paid will remain unchanged, I have, however, invited the academy to tender to me its advice on the future conduct of the scheme and to advise me on the future membership of the selection committee. This arrangement will secure, for the humanities disciplines, the provision of academic advice on this element of the postgraduate student support system from an independent source which is eminently qualified to undertake this role.
The formal agreement with the academy, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House, emphasises that these arrangements will in no way compromise the academy's independence of Government, nor will they affect the character or scale of the academy's other activities.