Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort. – in the House of Commons on 2nd July 1940.
asked the Lord President of the Council whether any representatives of the Dominions operate in conjunction with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research; and what arrangements are made for looking into inventions submitted to that Department by Dominion inventors?
Close contact is maintained directly between the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and the corresponding research departments in the Dominions. Publications and reports are exchanged, and immediate consultation is usual on all matters of common interest. Additional contacts are provided through the High Commissioners representing Dominion Governments in this country. In particular, the Food Investigation Board of the Department, being intimately concerned with certain of the primary products of the Dominions contains representatives of the several High Commissioners. No arrangements other than those normally made in the Department for the consideration of inventions are required for the consideration of the small number of inventions submitted to the Department by Dominion inventors.
asked the Lord President of the Council whether he is satisfied that the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research has an adequate staff to enable it to investigate quickly, and to sort out, the large number of inventions which are submitted at the present time, some of which might be of the greatest value in connection with the prosecution of the war; and whether he will consider the desirability of adding to the present staff and utilising the services of the large number of persons with scientific qualifications whose names are on the Central Register but who are still without useful employment?
The number of inventions submitted to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research is not large, and the Department's existing staff is adequate to deal quickly with those which it receives. In any event, inventions such as those relating to munitions of war, or other military, naval, air or home defence problems are referred immediately to the appropriate other Department. The second part of the Question does not therefore arise.
Does the Lord President of the Council yet realise that this is a war of science and engineering, and that there is no scientist or engineer in the Government; and that it is about time that that was put right?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a strong feeling among a large number of scientific workers that really useful inventions are not being adequately examined; and will he consider whether some wider and better plan can be adopted for the consideration of these inventions?
The Question related to inventions submitted to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. There are not many inventions submitted to that Department. There are, of course, research departments in other Departments of State, to which inventions are submitted. Questions about those should be submitted to the Ministers responsible.