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1992 - PMQT Written Answers 20th May 1992

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 20th May 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

Science and Technology

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what support Her Majesty's Government (1) are giving through the EC to an international science and technology centre to be sited in Russia;

(2) when he received a copy of the Royal Society report on the state of science in the former Soviet Union; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I received the Royal Society report on 17 January. It is a very valuable analysis of the problems facing scientists in the former Soviet Union. After careful study of the report's recommendations the Government are making a sum of £670,000 available for increased bilateral assistance; £350,000 will come from existing programmes in the current year and the remainder will be charged to the reserve. The entire sum is within the planning total of public expenditure.

The European Community is contributing some £14 million, of which the United Kingdom's share is approximately 18 per cent., to the creation of an international science and technology centre. The centre will fund research projects for scientists in the former Soviet Union who have hitherto been working on weapons programmes.

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what basic scientific equipment is being provided to the former Soviet republics.

The Prime Minister : None is provided directly. However the United Kingdom institutions participating with former Soviet Union counterparts in joint projects supported by the Royal Society may apply to the society for up to £500 to purchase basic equipment for their partner.

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the recent visit by the chief scientific adviser, Professor William Stewart, to the Soviet Union.

The Prime Minister : The chief scientific adviser visited Russia on 15 and 16 March, in order to discuss the difficulties faced by scientists in the former Soviet Union and how the United Kingdom might help. During his visit he called on the Ministries of Atomic Energy and Science, Technology and Higher Education, and on the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as meeting other senior members of the Russian science community.