No. 39  Session 2002-2003

21 July 2003


The Use of Science in UK International Development Policy

The Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into the use of science, technology and engineering in UK international development policy.

The inquiry will examine the extent to which research, technology and innovation is informing Government international development policy and practice and what the impact of Government policy has been in building a relevant science base in developing countries. It will examine whether expertise in the UK science base is being utilised effectively in the implementation of this policy and what the implications are for the maintenance of a science, technology and engineering capacity in the UK which is of relevance to development policies.     

The Committee is inviting written evidence on the following specific points:

  • The co-ordination of research support with Government policy on the use of science in development policy, taking into account the work of the Research Councils and the objectives of HM Treasury, DTI, OST, FCO, the British Council and DfID

  • The means by which DfID acquires and uses scientific advice in developing and implementing its policies and programmes

  • The extent to which investment in research and the promotion of innovation play a part in DfID's country level development programmes

  • The progress of UK efforts to build scientific, technological and engineering capacity in developing countries to help them overcome trade restrictions, and the co-ordination of these efforts with NGOs, charities and international programmes

  • The ways in which the role of the UK private sector and public/private partnerships in science and technology research in knowledge transfer and in capacity building programmes for the benefit of developing countries can be enhanced

  • The extent of scientific and engineering training provided by the UK as part of development policy and the subsequent utilisation of such training in developing countries.

The Committee would welcome written evidence from interested organisations and individuals addressing these points.  Evidence should be submitted by Friday 14 November 2003. Oral evidence sessions will begin in January 2004.

In announcing the inquiry, the Chairman of the Committee, Ian Gibson MP, said "We want to see how effectively the Government - and not just DfID - is using science and technology to underpin its international development policy.  Is UK science contributing effectively to the long term prosperity of developing countries by helping them to develop a scientific capacity, or are we just tackling short term problems as they arise? We'll be looking to see if DfID's policies on development complement or conflict with OST and DTI's responsibilities for UK science and innovation. Is the Government giving with one hand and taking with the other?"

Evidence should be sent in hard copy to the Clerk of the Science and Technology Committee, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.  Please send an electronic version also, in Word format, via e-mail to or on disk.  Guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at

Further information on the work of the Committee can be obtained from Committee staff on 020 7219 2793/4.

Previous press notices and publications are available on the Committee's internet homepage:

Note for Editors

  • Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Committee is empowered to examine the "expenditure, policy and administration of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies". The Committee was appointed on 12 November 2001.