Brussels, 26 Jan 2006
While the UK government's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced grants to exploit the results of new and exciting research on 24 January, the UK's Science Minister warned on 25 January that more government research institutes are likely to close soon.
The projects receiving GBP 25 million (36.4 million euro) between them include a state-of-the art DNA database to fight global crime; oxygen-free sealed picture fames to preserve priceless works of art; and monitoring devices for marine animals to track shipping, buoys and sea platforms remotely.
'Without this vital financial support much of the cutting edge research taking place in public sector organisations might never make it out of the lab. The fund helps bright ideas bear fruit and become commercially viable products and services,' said Alan Johnson, UK Trade and Industry Secretary.
Although the government is stepping in to ensure that the benefits of science are reaped to the full, government research institutes are themselves likely to close as research is being increasingly undertaken in universities, according to Science Minister Lord Sainsbury.
Speaking to the Commons science and technology select committee, Lord Sainsbury was responding to questions on the closure of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the relocation of the National Institute of Medical Research to the University College London.
In each case the decisions had been taken by scientists, but the minister gave his support to the bodies involved, saying: 'I think you will see more cases of people who take the view that [the medical] area of science ought to be placed in a multidisciplinary environment if you want to get really world class science.'