HC Deb 31 October 1996 vol 284 cc181-2W
Sir John Hannam

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what conclusion has been reached on the review of the dual support transfer. [2111]

Mr. Ian Taylor

Following extensive consultations, the Government have decided that, to address the evident concerns of the effect of the dual support transfer on research infrastructure, the contribution to indirect costs in research council grants should be increased from 40 to 45 per cent. of approved staff costs for all grant payments on new and existing grants from 1 April 1997.

Additionally, the research councils and funding councils have been asked to identify and implement further measures by next April to ensure that the transfer achieves its original intentions. In particular, it is important that those making research grant applications include all eligible direct costs, and that the research councils meet these wherever possible.

In announcing these measures, I should like to acknowledge the considerable assistance provided by all concerned. As those consulted plainly recognise, the difficult issues raised by the review require a finely balanced judgment to be made. From the consultation, it was clear that the major concern was with departmental infrastructure associated with grant-funded research projects, and hence the Government hope that universities will deploy the increase in the indirect costs contribution to support such infrastructure.

I have asked the Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Robert May, to keep under review these new arrangements and the health of the higher education research base through the Science and Engineering Base Co-ordinating Committee, which he chairs.