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Scotland Act 1998

Section C12: Research Councils
Purpose and Effect

This Section reserves the Research Councils within the meaning of the Science and Technology Act 1965, including the funding of such Councils.  UK Research Councils will continue to provide funds for research in Scotland, on the present basis.

General

Research Councils are established by Royal Charter and are regulated under the 1965 Act.  The 1965 Act establishes certain Research Councils for purposes connected with scientific research e.g. the Natural Environment Research Council and the Medical Research Council.  Apart from the Research Councils already established by Royal Charter and named in the 1965 Act, a body may be declared a Research Council for the purposes of the 1965 Act by means of an Order in Council.  The Research Councils covered by the 1965 Act deal with matters related to research and development in any of the sciences (including the social sciences) and technology.  The reservation extends to existing Research Councils or any others that may be established in the field of scientific research within the meaning of the 1965 Act.

The Scottish Parliament is able to legislate for the funding of research, including scientific research, generally and to establish bodies in Scotland to carry out, administer or fund such research.  The Scottish Parliament has legislative competence over the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council which grants funds for research to higher education institutions.  This reservation simply precludes the Scottish Parliament from establishing Research

Councils within the meaning of the 1965 Act or exercising any direct control over such Councils.

Section 5 of the 1965 Act enables the Secretary of State to fund scientific research.  This power is used mainly, but not exclusively, to fund research through Research Councils.  It is written in terms of a general power to fund scientific research and so relates to more than is covered by this reservation.  Section 5 is reserved only as it relates to the Research Councils.  In all other respects powers under section 5, so far as they relate to matters that are not reserved, were transferred to the Scottish Ministers by virtue of section 53 of the Scotland Act.  However, since there are circumstances under which a UK Secretary of State or Minister may wish to fund research in Scotland other than through Research Councils, section 56(1)(d) provides that section 5 of the 1965 Act is a shared power.

Details of Provisions

The first reservation is of Research Councils within the meaning of the 1965 Act.  The reservation covers the establishment of and appointments to Research Councils, the functions, powers and duties of such bodies, and the provision of expenses and funds for distribution by them.

The subject-matter of section 5 of the Act is reserved so far as it relates to Research Councils.  This reservation reserves to United Kingdom Ministers the power to fund scientific research through the Research Councils.

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