§ Lord Stanley of Alderley
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What progress has been made on the LINK programmes.
§ Lord Young of Graffham
The Government attach great importance to LINK, which aims to increase the benefits to the UK economy from government-funded research by encouraging collaboration between industry and the science base. I am pleased to announce today a major new LINK programme in structural composites. Collaborative research in this area is vital to ensure that UK industry is well placed to adopt these new materials in a cost-effective way.
This programme will develop both new and existing expertise, and will widen the use of such materials within UK industry. The use of advanced composites as structural components is likely to have a major impact in the future. A key aim of the programme is to co-ordinate and stimulate existing and new UK R&D in composite materials with particular emphasis on structural applications. It will support research which will meet industry's future demands for composites with improved properties, more efficient processability and lower costs.
A large number of companies and science based organisations have already indicated that they wish to be involved in individual collaborative research projects. Special efforts will be made to encourage the involvement of small and medium sized firms.
The structural composites programme will raise the level of UK activity at a time when national programmes are being undertaken within Europe, Japan and the USA and will complement R&D work being undertaken through the European Community's BRITE/EURAM initiative. This programme, the 14th to be announced under LINK, will be jointly funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (£14 million) and the Science and Engineering Research Council (£6 millon); matching support from industry will be needed for this £40 million, five year programme.