16 JANUARY 2003


The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has invited evidence for its new Inquiry into science and the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).

Lord Patel, chairman of the Sub-Committee undertaking the Inquiry, said:

"The nine English RDAs have public funds of over £1.5 billion a year and mobilise substantial other resources for regional development. A number of their objectives - for example, in relation to innovation and skills - have a direct bearing on the country's science base, while others (such as regeneration) will benefit from scientific input. Now that the RDAs have some years' experience, we want to see what models for gathering and applying scientific, engineering and technological expertise have been the most successful so that best practice can be spread."

Written evidence is invited by 24 February 2003. There will be a series of hearings, open to the public, from late February to mid-April. A Report, making recommendations to Government and others, will be published by about the middle of the year.


The formal "Call for Evidence" is attached to this notice.

The Inquiry is being conducted by Sub-Committee II of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. Members are: Baroness Finlay of Llandaff; Lord Freeman; Lord Lewis of Newnham; Lord Methuen; Lord Mitchell; Lord Oxburgh; Lord Patel (Chairman); Lord Thomas of Macclesfield; Lord Turnberg; Lord Wade of Chorlton; Lord Winston; and Lord Young of Graffham.


Roger Morgan, the Clerk to Sub-Committee II. His contact details are

Telephone:  020 7219 6072

Fax:  020 7219 0277

Email:  [email protected]

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1. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has appointed Sub-Committee II, chaired by Lord Patel, to conduct an Inquiry into Science and the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).

2. The nine RDAs in England spend and mobilise significant sums on science-related matters. The Sub-Committee is interested in the diversity of approaches that have developed and, in the interests of spreading best practice, wishes to identify those that have been most successful. In doing so, the Sub-Committee intends also to make comparisons with the more established practice in the Devolved Administrations and in other countries.

3. Against that background, the Sub-Committee would welcome comments on the following questions (not all of which will be relevant for some respondents).

a. How and to what extent do RDAs develop and exploit Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) to stimulate employment, employment opportunities, regeneration, wealth creation and improved skill levels?

b. How do advances in SET and national SET policies and initiatives influence and inform RDAs' strategies?

c. Do RDAs take full advantage of all available local, regional and national SET facilities, expertise and funds (including EU funds) in implementing their policies?

d. How do RDAs reach decisions on financial support for SET? How should success be judged?

e. What lessons may be learned from RDAs' approach to SET, and from the longer experience of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

4. The Sub-Committee would also welcome wider comment on these matters. Those should, however, exclude aspects of RDAs' general arrangements for engaging with and supporting local businesses which are being studied by the House of Commons Trade and Industry Committee in a parallel Inquiry. (See

Notes for witnesses

5. Written evidence is invited on the above matters, to arrive by no later than Monday 24 February 2003. Submissions (which will be acknowledged promptly) and any enquiries should be addressed to: Roger Morgan, Clerk to Sub-Committee II, Science and Technology Committee, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW - telephone 020 7219 6072; fax 020 7219 0277; e-mail [email protected]. It is helpful also to receive material electronically - by e-mail or on disc.

6. Short submissions, of not more than six pages, are preferred. Longer submissions should include a summary. Paragraphs should be numbered. If drawings or charts are included, they must be in black and white and of camera-ready quality. Evidence should be signed and dated, with a note of the author's name, contact details and status, and of whether the evidence is submitted on an individual or corporate basis.

7. Evidence submitted becomes the property of the Committee and is likely to be published. However, witnesses may publicise or publish their evidence themselves provided they make clear that the material was prepared for the Committee.

8. Those submitting evidence, and others, may be invited to give oral evidence to the Sub-Committee, usually in public at Westminster. Transcripts of such sessions will be published, together with the Report of the Inquiry and other evidence, in mid-2003.

9. This is a public call for evidence. Recipients of this notice are encouraged to draw it to the attention of others who may wish to submit evidence to the Inquiry.