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Written Answers

Volume 385: debated on Thursday 14 July 1977

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Written Answers

Science Research Council Finances

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are aware that on page 9 of the

Guardian newspaper, 5th July 1977, 25 separate advertisements for Science Research Council studentships were published; how much public money this cost; and what measures they propose to take to ensure that Science Research Council money is used to promote scientific research.

(Lord Donaldson of Kings-bridge)

Under its Royal Charter the Science Research Council's responsibilities include the payment of awards to postgraduate students. In recent years the Council has developed a number of schemes under which students carry out research projects mounted jointly by higher education institutions and industrial companies. The advertisements mentioned by my noble friend were placed by individual institutions and not financed by the Council. They relate to a large number of separate research projects for which the institutions wish to select the best possible candidates. The cost of the advertisements to public funds could not be obtained without disproportionate expenditure of time and effort.

Social Science Research Council Expenditure

What steps they propose to urge upon the Social Science Research Council to reduce its overhead expenses and, in particular, the size of its grants directly and indirectly used to advertise research and other studentships.

It is already Social Science Research Council policy to reduce the proportion of its expenditure on overheads by keeping it constant in real terms. In 1976–77 such expenditure represented 11 per cent. of its total budget, compared with 14·4 per cent. in 1975–76. The cost to the Council of advertisements for postgraduate awards, which also fell slightly, was under £1,000.House adjourned at nine minutes before nine o'clock.