Mr. W. T. Williams
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will now make a more detailed statement about the new arrangements for science and technology.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
Yes. I would refer my hon. Friend to the Written statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister today about the functions of the Minister of Technology.
In addition, it is intended to make the following arrangements once the Science 206W and Technology Bill now before the House has been enacted.
I shall be responsible for the Research Councils and for the support of research in the universities. Two new Research Councils—the Natural Environment Research Council and the Science Research Council—will be created. The Research Councils will be financed through my Department and I shall be advised concerning finance for the Councils by the Council on Scientific Policy.
The Natural Environment Research Council will support research in the earth sciences and ecology. It will take over the Nature Conservancy, the Geological Survey and Museum, the Hydrology Research Unit, the National Institute of Oceanography, and the functions of the Development Commission in relation to marine and freshwater biology and fishery research. The Minister of Land and Natural Resources will be closely interested in some of the work of the N.E.R.C., and I will consult him, and other Ministers who are closely concerned, on certain appointments in this organisation.
The Science Research Council will take over the functions of the D.S.I.R. in respect of research grants and postgraduate training awards not within the fields of the other Councils. It will take over the activities of the National Institute for Research in Nuclear Science and will also be responsible for the Radio Research Station, the Royal Observatories, and the scientific space research programme. It will advise on relations with C.E.R.N. and with the European Space Research Organization.
The remaining stations of the D.S.I.R. will come within the responsibility of the Minister of Technology, except that the Road Research Laboratory will become a responsibility of the Minister of Transport, and will be administered under arrangements that recognise the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Secretary of State for Wales for highway matters in these countries. The Tropical Products Institute will be the responsibility of the Minister of Overseas Development. Other functions of the D.S.I.R. will be divided between my Department and the Ministry of Technology, which will take over the information functions concerned with disseminating technical 207W information in industry. The National Lending Library, and the more general information work and the control of the Scientific Attachés will come under my Department.
The decision to place the National Physical Laboratory under the Ministry of Technology was reached after careful consideration and discussion with the President of the Royal Society. It is intended to combine the National Chemical Laboratory with the National Physical Laboratory under one Director. Arrangements have been concluded with the Royal Society which will continue the long-standing close association between the Laboratory and the Royal Society.