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Organization of Science in Great Britain

Nature volume 155, pages 4243 (13 January 1945) | Download Citation



AN interim memorandum from the sub-committee on the future scope and organization of science in Great Britain which has been issued by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee urges as an immediate measure the appointment by the Government of a committee, with the widest powers of securing information, to review the existing position of industrial research and development in British industry, and to plan a programme (covering, say, the next five years) aimed at remedying the most important defects and gaps in that field, so far as the national interest is concerned. Such a review would involve consideration of existing national resources at home, the probable economic position of Britain in the postwar world, and the lines along which the immediate, vigorous and large-scale application of scientific knowledge is likely to yield the most fruitful results. In this connexion the sub-committee stresses the necessity for special attention to scientific research on the treatment of coal. The review would also involve investigation into the points at which British industry in general, and certain industries in particular, have failed in the past to utilize scientific knowledge, the loss to the national interest which has resulted from this failure and the steps which can be taken to prevent the recurrence of similar failure. The sub-committee does not consider that a review of this type, involving specialized technical knowledge of a number of different industries, combined with a particular appreciation of the facts affecting the position of Great Britain in the world economy, could be adequately carried out by any existing agency. While the proposed committee should take its evidence in secret, an early and informative report is regarded as essential, first as a means of bringing home to industry and the public the realities of the existing situation, and secondly, to afford a basis for settling the plan of action required to recover and maintain the industrial strength upon which our future as a nation depends.

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