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Scientific Research and Patents

Nature volume 154, pages 587589 (11 November 1944) | Download Citation



IN one of the recent series of articles on "Scientific and Industrial Research" published in these columns, it was stated that "When we have thus provided for the effective organization of research in the universities and under direct Government auspices, there will remain a large field of applied research to be undertaken by private industry". The strategy and tactics of research in each of the three divisions indicated in these words must differ from those of the other two, and the opinion was expressed that while "the funds at the disposal of research are utterly inadequate" and that while there will be required "expenditure ranging up to what might well approach 50 millions", there should be "no direct financial aid to research by private firms". There can be no doubt that Government expenditure on this scale and in this way would be greatly in the public interest and to the social advantage. Nevertheless, the view has been expressed that the extremely large expenditure to which the Government is otherwise committed during the next few years makes it unlikely that it will accept the further responsibility of the suggested £50 millions, without some clear indication of means by which it will be able to cover the expenditure more directly than by some possible consequent benefit to the public interest and social advantage. One way of removing this probable reluctance by the Government would be to stress that industrial development and increased employment result from expenditure on research, to make clear what is at present being achieved in this respect by industry, and to suggest how it can be increased.

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