HC Deb 25 November 1992 vol 214 cc666-7W
Dr. Moonie

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list(a) the interdisciplinary research centres established to date by each research council and those planned to be established in the future, (b) the percentage of the total budget of each research council spent on interdisciplinary research centres each year since the programme began and (c) the total number of staff employed in interdisciplinary research centres and the percentage of those staff who are seconded to interdisciplinary research centres from universities; and if he will make a statement on interdisciplinary research centres.

Mr. Waldegrave

[holding answer 3 November 1992]: The Government recognise the value of interdisciplinary research across classical discipline boundaries, and have already provided substantial additional funding of £75 million for such research through the interdisciplinary research centre (IRC) initiative.

The information requested is as follows:

(a) Interdisciplinary research centres established to date
Research council Name of interdisciplinary research centre Date established
Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) Centre for Genome Research, University of Edinburgh January 1990
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Human communications research centre, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities April 1989
Centre for research on micro-social change, Essex university April 1989
Centre for economic performance, London School of Economics April 1990
Medical Research Council (MRC) Molecular science, Oxford university April 1989
Centre for protein engineering, Cambridge university January 1990
Cell biology, University College, London (UCL) January 1992
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Centre for population biology, London university April 1989
Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) Superconductivity in Cambridge, Cambridge university March 1988
Surface science, university of Liverpool June 1988
Centre for molecular sciences, (15 per cent. funded by Medical Research Council), Oxford university October 1988
Engineering design, Glasgow university (closed November 1991) February 1989
IRC for semiconductor materials, University of London April 1989
Process engineering, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London university/University College, London August 1989
Polymer science and technology, Leeds, Bradford and Durham universities October 1989
High performance applications, Birmingham university October 1989
Optoelectronics research centre, Southampton university and University College, London October 1989
Biomedical materials, University College, London October 1991
Advanced centre for biomedical engineering, university College, London October 1991
Centre for neuroscience, Sussex university October 1991

Only the MRC has current plans for additional IRCs. The human toxicity IRC at Leicester university is due to open in March 1993, and an IRC in brain repair is planned for Cambridge.

(b) Percentage of total budget each Research Council spent on IRCs
1988–89 1989–90 1990–91 1991–92 11992–93
AFRC 1.00 1.20 1.20
ESRC 0.17 3.20 5.80 6.30 6.30
MRC 0.19 0.72 2.28 3.80 3.23
NERC 0.75 1.07 0.45 0.47
SERC 0.43 2.78 3.84 2.41 3.70
1 Provisional.

(c) 868 staff (in full-time equivalents) are employed in IRCs. These are generally employees of the host university.

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