Skip to main content

University Research

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what is the percentage of the total national expenditure on research and development which is allocated to university research.

Expenditure on research and development at universities is incurred at their discretion and is not determined by allocation. The Advisory Council on Scientific Policy recently estimated that in 1958–59 expenditure at universities amounted to about 5 per cent. of the total national expenditure on research and development. The proportion of basic research which is done in universities is, of course, much larger than this.

Does not this figure of 5 per cent. compare very unfavourably with the amount allocated in the United States, which is about 9 per cent., and, in view of the fact that the universities are responsible for the best fundamental research as a whole, should not greater assistance be given to them?

I think that one has to be careful in talking of any of these percentages, first, because it is very difficult within a university allocation to allocate that part of a man's salary, that proportion of the cost of buildings, and to say how much is to be considered the cost of research and how much the cost of teaching. Secondly, it is a fact that basic research, which is just that type of research upon which the universities particularly specialise, costs much less than applied research and very much less than development.