§ Mr. Moynihan
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress was made at the meeting of the Research Council of European Community Ministers on 19 December; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Butcher
The Community's Council of Ministers (Research) met on 19 December 1984 in Brussels. I represented Her Majesty's Government.
The Council agreed the 1985 work plan for the European strategic programme of research on information technology (ESPRIT).
The Council also reached agreement on the financial resources to be devoted to a number of research programmes proposed by the Commission, against a background of budgetary constraints in the Community. The financial commitments foreseen for these programmes amount to 1,225 million ecu. The programmes, summarised as follows, will be formally adopted once a number of details have been finalised and the appropriate procedures completed.
The Community's thermonuclear fusion programme has provisionally been allocated 690 million ecu for the period 1985–89. The aim of the programme is to look at thermonuclear fusion in relation to future energy strategies. There are two elements to the programme: first, the Joint European Torus (JET) at UKAEA, Culham, forms the basis of research into controlled thermonuclear fusion; and, secondly, work on the fusion physics Next European Torus (NET), and so on.
The third non-nuclear energy programme—allocated 175 million ecu for 1985–88 — is concerned with the efficient management and rational use of energy and its supply for renewable sources. To this end there are nine sub-programmes covering research into solar energy, biomass, wind energy, geothermal energy, energy conservation, solid fuels, new energy carriers, energy systems analysis and hydrocarbon.258W
Basic research in industrial technologies for Europe, known as BRITE, has been allocated 125 million ecu and will run from 1985 to 1988. The programme is designed to improve the technological base of the more traditional industries in the Community and to encourage the introduction of advanced technology to these industries.
A biotechnology programme, with funds of 55 million ecu running from 1985 to 1989, will include research and development on basic technology and training, development of culture collections, data banks, action on patents; with specific actions aimed at the agrofood, chemical and health care industries.
Programmes in radiation protection and the management of radioactive waste have been jointly allocated 120 million ecu and will be starting in 1985 to finish in 1989. The aim of the research into radiation protection is to evaluate the effects and hazards arising from exposure to natural or man-made ionising radiation. This will particularly involve research into radiation dosimetry, radioactivity in the environment, radiation as a cause of cancer or genetic change. The radioactive waste programme will be looking at ways to treat and safely dispose of waste and the establishment of underground laboratories for that purpose in some other member states.
A programme to stimulate European co-operation and scientific and technical interchange is to run from 1985 to 1988 at a cost of 60 million ecu. The aim of the programme is to aid the mobility of scientists, improve communication and exchange of information between scientists, and generally to develop co-operation in the field of European science and technology.
The Council agreed that the work proposal by the Commission in the field of reactor safety should be integrated with that of the joint research centre at no additional cost.