§ Mr. Maclean
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made since his predecessor's statement of 14 May 1985, Official Report, columns 97–100, over the exploitation of inventions arising from work funded by research councils.531W
§ Mr. Walden
Universities were invited to make proposals for new arrangements to exploit research council funded inventions on 14 May 1985. The majority have submitted accounts of their proposed arrangements. In most cases these accounts have satisfied a scrutiny group set up to ensure that there are suitable arrangements in place. The group under the chairmanship of the secretary of the Science and Engineering Research Council includes representatives of the five research councils, my Department, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Treasury, the University Grants Committee, the National Advisory Body for Local Authority Higher Education, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the Committee of Directors of Polytechnics.
Authorisations to operate the new arrangements have recently been issued to 33 universities and university colleges. In the first instance authorisations have been given for three years. Annual reports to research councils will he required on the working of the arrangements in each institution. Apart from the 33 recently authorised, most of the other universities are still discussing their proposals with the scrutiny group.
Similar invitations were extended early in 1986 to polytechnics in inner London, Scottish central institutions and to local education authorities in England and Wales in respect of other polytechnics and colleges in receipt of research council funding.
The research councils are also developing arrangements for exploiting their in-house research inventions, consonant with the policy announced on 14 May 1985. These proposals are part of a pattern of measures designed to give greater financial incentives and to reinforce the autonomy of individual institutions. The Government are glad to see the keen response in this case.