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Colonial Products Research Council

Volume 388: debated on Wednesday 31 March 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when the Colonial Products Research Council was appointed; whether any information can be made available as to the scope of the work of this Council, its membership, whether selective or representative, what interests were consulted before the final decision on the Council's membership, what colonial contacts on the scientific and practical side are envisaged, and what executive functions will be delegated to this Council; and whether it is the intention to allow representation on behalf of the Colonial producer or consumer?

The Colonial Products Research Council was appointed towards the end of last year, and held its first meeting on 12th January. Its function is to consider what Colonial raw materials may be made of value for the manufacture of intermediate and other products required by industry and it will initiate and supervise researches, both pure and applied, on such products and generally consider how by the application of research greater use can be made of them. In framing their programme, the Council will have as their principal objective the promotion of the welfare and prosperity of Colonial peoples, and will endeavour also to increase the Colonial contribution to the welfare and prosperity of the British Empire and of the world as a whole. In carrying out their programme, the Council, which is financed by grants from the Research Fund created by the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940, will co-operate with existing institutes, such as the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Medical Research Council and the Agricultural Research Council, to the greatest possible extent, and will "farm out" work to these and other bodies by arrangement. It will set up facilities of its own only for work which cannot be done by other means.The Council is composed of Lord Hankey, Chairman, Mr. Eric Barnard (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research), Mr. G. L. M. Clauson (Colonial Office), Mr. Aneurin Davies (Co-operative Wholesale Society), Dr. J. J. Fox (Government Chemist), Professor W. N. Haworth, Sir Harry Lindsay (Director of the Imperial Institute), Sir Edward Mellanby (Medical Research Council), Professor Sir Robert Robinson, Mr. G. W. Thomson (Association of Engineering and Shipbuilding Draughtsmen), Dr. W. W. C. Topley (Agricultural Research Council). Professor J. L. Simonsen, F.R.S., lately of the University College of North Wales, has been appointed Director of Research. In constituting the Council, my predecessor was guided by the advice of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the War Cabinet. Formal contact between the Council and Colonial Governments will be maintained through the Colonial Office, and this will be supplemented by personal contact between the Director and those engaged in research in the Colonies. The Council is a practical working body of persons with a special knowledge either of the conduct of research, or of Colonial products, or of possible markets. It would, therefore, as a general rule, be contrary to the principles on which the membership was made up to admit representatives of particular Colonial interests.