HC Deb 16 April 1991 vol 189 cc136-7W
Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on his policies to encourage the growth of a science base in Wales.

Sir Wyn Roberts

[holding answer 27 March 1991]: The Government's policy with regard to science is designed to operate on a United Kingdom basis. The aims of the Government's science programme are to advance knowledge and technical capability; to train scientific manpower at postgraduate level; and in these and other ways to contribute to the realisation of economic, social and cultural benefits for the United Kingdom. Financial support is channelled through the research councils and other funded bodies. Higher education institutions in Wales can and do receive support from these funds for research activity in Wales.

In addition, many projects in Wales are funded by the Department's own research and development programme which covers the whole range of its responsibilities. The Welsh Office estimated expenditure on research and development in 1991–92 is £3.1 million.

The Department also specifically seeks to promote and develop the science base within the NHS in Wales. To this end the provision of training for clinical scientists is currently under review. The Department also sponsors the Welsh scheme for the development of health and social research which specifically supports the career develop-ment of research workers. In addition Welsh Office-sponsored projects account for some £1.1 million of the £22.9 million held by the Department of Health for the combined England and Wales health and personal social services research programme for 1991–92.

Some of the Department's industrial policies also have a direct effect in strengthening the more commercially oriented aspects of our science base. For example there are the activities of WDA Technology Marketing, the WDA support for various major centres of excellence within the university of Wales, the proposed Imperial science park at Newport and our promotion of relevant Government and European schemes such as LINK, the teaching company scheme and the collaborative research and development grant support at both the United Kingdom and European level including through the pan-European EUREKA programme.