40. Also expected at the same time as the CSR is
the outcome of the review by Lord Sainsbury of science and innovation
policies across Government. The announcement of this Review accompanied
the news of Lord Sainsbury's resignation from his post as Science
Minister and the breadth of the terms of reference of the review
led to mischievous speculation that he was continuing with his
portfolio out of office. Reporting to the Chancellor of the Exchequer
and the Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry and Education
and Skills, the Review is intended to "take a forward look
at what needs to be done to ensure the UK's continued success
in wealth creation and scientific policy-making".
Its term of reference explain that the Review will:
International science and technology collaboration."
41. The review has been officially welcomed by Lord
Sainsbury's former department. The incoming Minister for Science
told us that he "was genuinely very pleased" when he
heard that Lord Sainsbury was to undertake this project
and that as of January 2007, the two of them had already "discussed
the review, and we will discuss it again".
Sir Keith O'Nions drew particular attention to the inclusion of
venture capital within the terms of reference, saying "we
are all looking forward to the Sainsbury review" and the
outcome of Lord Sainsbury's "conversations" in this
area. We very much
look forward to the outcome of the review, emerging conclusions
from which were included in the 2007 Budget, and we would welcome
an early opportunity to discuss his findings with Lord Sainsbury
Science and Innovation Framework
2004-14: Next Steps
42. In March 2006 a discussion paper to take forward
the proposals in the 2004 Science and Innovation Framework was
published as part of the Budget package. Entitled Next Steps
and sponsored by HM Treasury, DTI, DfES and the Department of
Health, the document set out further measures aimed at meeting
the overall ambitions of the original paper. The key elements
- The creation of a single, jointly
held health research fund of at least £1 billion per annum.
- The proposed merger of the
Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC)
with the large facilities operations conducted by the Particle
Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) to create a Large
Facilities Research Council. PPARC's research funding role was
to be taken over by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research
- An increasing role for the
Technology Strategy Board in contributing to the development of
the Government's innovation strategy.
- A consultation on the proposed
change of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) to a metrics-based
- A commitment to allow all pupils
that achieve level 6 or above at Key Stage 3 to study three separate
science GSCEs and a drive to recruit science graduates into teaching
with incentives to providers of £1000 per recruit.
- The enhancement of UK Trade
and Investment (UKTI) in marketing the UK science base to business,
implementing a £9 million international R&D strategy
to attract R&D investment to the UK.
- Additional support through
R&D tax credits to companies with between 250 and 500 employees.
Seven questions were highlighted for discussion and
|Summary of discussion questions from Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014: next steps
1. The Government would be interested in views about whether the existing framework for supporting science and innovation enables an appropriate level of risk-taking, and if not, suggestions of how any gap might be addressed.
2. The Government invites views on measures to remove any remaining bias which unfairly favours established research fields over innovative ones. The Government also invites views on how funding mechanisms can be made more responsive to new research challenges.
3. The Government would welcome views on the barriers limiting greater business innovation and business-university collaboration in the regions, and on what more could be done on a national and regional level to tackle these barriers effectively.
4. The Government would welcome viewsin particular from outside Higher Education -which can be taken into account in developing best practice models for business-university collaboration. In addition, the Government would welcome views on how to encourage businesses to work with universities for the first time, perhaps by introducing short-term, low-cost mechanisms for business-university interaction.
5. The Government would welcome views on whether all large facilities operations should be integrated under a new Large Facilities Council, or whether there is a case for some facilities to remain under the management of other Research Councils.
6. Furthermore, in the event of a merger, should the grant-giving functions of PPARC be moved to EPSRC?
7. The Government would welcome views on what further measures could be taken by the Research Councils to improve their effectiveness.
and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014: next steps, March
43. The consultation period ran for 12 weeks from
22 March 2006 to 16 June 2006. In the light of the strong criticism
by our predecessor Committee of the six-week consultation on the
original Science and Innovation Framework document, we welcome
the compliance with the Cabinet Office guidance on Government
consultation in the case of Next Steps. Our predecessors
also commented that in 2004 it was "unclear how the submissions
have helped to shape the policies outlined in the Framework".
Here too there is evidence that the consultation was better handled
on this occasion. A summary of the 190 responses received was
published by the OSI in September 2006, which also set out "the
first steps in actively responding to the points made".
These actions were mainly steps taken by the Research Councils
but the summary also referred to the view of the "majority
of respondents in favour of the creation of a Large Facilities
Council and opposed to the transfer of PPARC's grant giving function
to EPSRC". A
separate summary of these responses had been published earlier,
and on 26 July 2006 the Government had announced its decision
along the lines suggested by that majority of respondents (see
44. We discuss in the next chapter the main changes
to emanate from the Next Steps agenda and their implications
for the Research Councils. Here, we note the publication of the
Next Steps document as proof of the continued interest shown by
the Treasury in science. The former Secretary of State for Trade
and Industry, Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, told us that "Without
the help and involvement of the Treasury and without the passion
of the Treasury for this, we would have a great deal of difficulty
in doubling the science base as we have done since 1997".
He added that "it is crucial that [the Treasury] are involved"
and that "I would not look at it in any way as a negative
feature that the Treasury are so closely involved".
We acknowledge the commitment shown by the Treasury to developing
science and innovation and its willingness to grant the money
necessary for this task. We have consistently argued that the
Treasury should address its position as the only major Government
department without a departmental chief scientific adviser. We
remain strongly of the view that this would add rigour and credibility
to Treasury thinking on science.
69 Department of Trade and Industry, Science Budget
Allocations 2005-06 to 2007-08, May 2005, p 8 Back
Note by OST on DTI Spring Supplementary Estimates 2005-06 Back
Q 286 Back
Letter from Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP to the Chairman of the
Committee, 21 March 2007 Back
Q 289 Back
Department of Trade and Industry, Science Budget Allocations
2005-06 to 2007-08, May 2005, p 5 Back
Q 257 Back
Q 259 Back
Q 278 Back
HC [2004-05] 8, para 30 Back
OSI, and HM Treasury, Response to the Science and Innovation
Investment Framework 2004-2014: next steps, September 2006,
para 1 Back
Ibid, para 27 Back
Q 129 Back