Reference numberCMB/66
Previous numbersMS/493
TitleGovernment Grant Committee
DescriptionMinutes and papers
Extent4 volumes, 1 box of papers
Access statusOpen
Administrative historyThe Parliamentary Grant-in-aid represents that share of the Science Budget voted annually by Parliament, since 1849, which is administered by the Society.

Expenditure is subject to examination by the Government's National Audit Office. Until 1964 such Parliamentary Grants-in-aid were negotiated with H.M. Treasury, and came in a specified series of grants for particular purposes. Since 1964 one comprehensive Parliamentary Grant-in-aid has been made annually to the Society to be used for a variety of purposes negotiated with the Department of Education and Science (via the ABRC).

In 1940 the amounts received under the main heading were £7000 for Scientific Investigations, £2500 for Scientific Publications and £2500 for International Subscriptions (incuding the expenses of delegates attending international meetings). However, already in 1940, due to wartime circumstances, the demand for support for scientific investigations had diminished and permission was granted for the Society to use some of the money to finance work on the Central Register. In 1941 a reduction in the sum for scientific investigation to £3500 and the suspension of the item for international subscriptions were agreed. In veiw of the considerable balance which was accumulating in the scientific investigations account the grants in 1942 and 1944 were reduced to £1000 whilst in 1943 no grant was requested. Meanwhile the scientific publications grant was increased to £2700 per annum. Upon the return to normality in 1945 the grants were £14,000 for scientific investigations, £7,000 for scientific publications and £1600 for international subscriptions. In 1946 these amounts were increased to £21,000, £10,000 and £2,500 respectively. Details of grants received each year for continuing activities and for special, limited purposes are given in the Society's 'Year Book'. In 1964 a more detailed structure of the Parliamentary Grant-in-aid under major headings was introduced in agreement with the Department of Education and Science. The line items under these major headings have been changed over the years, reflecting the changes in emphasis in the Society's activities. One such major change in the Society's policy, in 1984, saw the cessation of support for Scientific Investigations, which was the main purpose of the Parliamentary Grant in 1849, and the diversion of these funds to the Research Fellowships. It was considered that the function of the Scientific Investigations scheme had been largely superseded the activities of the Research Councils and by the equipment grants to universities, although an Overseas Field Research Grants item was introduced to continue to provide valuable support for scientific expeditions. 1989 saw a reversal of this policy with the re-introduction of a major item in the Parliamentary Grant-in-aid for Research Grants.

The total Parliamentary Grant-in-aid has increased from £12,000 in 1940 to about £11,600 000 in 1989-1990. It is administered by Council which has limited authority to transfer amounts bvetween line items of any one category but must seek the approval of the Department of Education and Science for transfers between major categories.
Related materialSee AB/2/21 for ledger. Printed books / booklets containing copies of applications submitted (as prepared for Board meetings and assessments), covering the dates 1877 - July 1958 ('Government Grant Applications') and March 1946 - July 1974 ('Parliamentary Grant in Aid of Scientific Investigations') can be consulted in the Library (class mark 'RoySoc').
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    Browse the records of some of our collections, which cover all branches of science and date from the 12th century onwards. These include the published works of Fellows of the Royal Society, personal papers of eminent scientists, letters and manuscripts sent to the Society or presented at meetings, and administrative records documenting the Society's activities since our foundation in 1660.

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