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Science Budget

Volume 129: debated on Tuesday 15 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the science budget, defined as research council and associated funding, as a percentage of gross domestic product in 1964–65, 1970–71, 1974–75, 1979–80 and 1986–87, respectively.



The elements that make up the science budget have changed considerably since 1964–65. The above figures should be read in the light of the following notes:

  • (1) The 1964–65 science budget has been assessed as Government funding for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (dissolved by the Science and Technology Act 1965), the Agricultural Research Council (later the Agricultural and Food Research Council), the Medical Research Council, the Nature Conservancy (absorbed the following year by the newly established Natural Environment Research Council) and Grants for Science (which included grants-in-aid for both The Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh). The Economic and Social Research Council (formerly the Social Science Research Council), the Natural Environment Research Council and the Science and Engineering Research Council (formerly the Science Research Council) first received Government funding in 1965–66.
  • (2) Under arrangements described in Cmnd. 5046 of July 1972, £11·6 million, £20·7 million and £34·6 million were transferred in 1973–74, 1974–75 and 1975–76 respectively from the science budget to customer Departments. On 1 April 1981, £14 million was transferred back to the science budget from the health Departments.
  • (3) The Royal Society of Edinburgh continued to receive a grant-in-aid from the science budget until 1972–73. Since 1984–85, the Fellowship of Engineering has received a small grant-in-aid from the science budget.
  • (4) For all years shown in the table, the science budget has been deemed to exclude provision for the British Museum (Natural History) which was transferred to the Office of Arts and Libraries on 1 August 1987.