HC Deb 27 January 2000 vol 343 cc285-6W
32. Mr. Ian Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action he is taking to enable the longer-term planning of Government-funded scientific research. [105782]

Ms Hewitt

As a result of the Government's decision in the Comprehensive Spending Review to allocate money for three years instead of one, Departments and Research Councils can now plan ahead with more certainty than before.

The Government confirmed, in their response of 13 September 1999 to the July 1999 report by the Council for Science and Technology (CST) of its review of science and technology across Government, that it fully accepted the advice that Departments should adopt a more strategic forward-looking approach to science and technology. The response noted that many departments already made substantial efforts here and went a long way towards meeting the recommendation but accepted that there was more that could be done.

Many Departments are already closely engaged with the UK Foresight programme which aims to develop a culture of forward thinking on science and technology. In response to the CST report, Departments will decide how to make better use of Foresight as part of the development of their science and technology strategies. Work to implement this and other recommendations from the Council for Science and Technology's report is ongoing as part of wider work on a science and innovation strategy.