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REPORT OF A COMMITTEE OF THE BRITISH SCIENCE GUILD UPON THE CARNEGIE TRUST AND SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.1
THE Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland was founded by Mr Andrew Carnegie in 1901, with a gift of two million pounds. One-half of the annual income from this fund has to be devoted to the payment of students' fees in Scottish Universities, and the other half is to be applied "towards the improvement and expansion of the Universities of Scotland, in the Faculties of Science and Medicine; also for improving and extending the opportunities for scientific study and research, and for increasing the facilities for acquiring a knowledge of History, Economics, English Literature, and Modern Languages, and such other subjects cognate to a technical and commercial education as can be brought within the scope of the University curriculum."
The annual income of the Trust has amounted in the past to rather more than £100,000; and after defraying the expenses of administration there has been left about £99,000 as the net revenue available for distribution under the two main heads of the scheme, or £49,500 for the part of it referred to above. In the future a very appreciable increase of revenue is to be anticipated.
In the article contributed to Science Progress for January 1917, Prof. F. Soddy, Professor of Chemistry in the University of Aberdeen, analysed the operations of 1 Published in the Journal of the British Science Guild, December 1917.
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the Trust, particularly as regards the promotion of scientific study and research. Prof. Soddy pointed out that, by a reasonable interpretation of the Trust Deed, the primary purpose of the income from one-half of Mr Carnegie's gift was the encouragement of scientific study and research, including medicine, and that history and other subjects cognate to a commercial and technical education were to be regarded as ancillary beneficiaries; while the other subjects of a classical education were entirely excluded from participating in the fund. He showed, however, that in the case of the University of Aberdeen only 23 per cent. of the grants made had been allocated to the primary object, while 46 per cent. had been devoted to the ancillary object, and 19 per cent. to the objects which, in so far as they are not illegitimate, are ancillary. Up to September 1913, the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow had each received more than 60 per cent. of the total sums for the primary purpose of the fund, but the quinquennial distribution since then had been allocated to buildings chiefly for Arts accommodation, as well as for departments of science. As regards St Andrews and Dundee, the position of the allocation of funds in the main has been between that of Dundee on the one hand and Edinburgh on the other. Of the total amount spent by the Trustees up to the end of September 1915, about 14 per cent. has been expended on a research scheme independently of the grants made to the Universities. This has been spent mainly in providing Research Scholarships and Fellowships, and grants for research instruments-objects excellent in themselves, but more or less preliminary to the fostering of research.
The main point put forward by Professor Soddy is that the funds of the Trust are not in general being applied to the specific purposes for which they were intended, and are used for general University needs, and to provide buildings and endowments for Arts subjects, instead of the promotion of scientific study and research. In support of this contention, definite facts were stated which seemed
to demand an equally definite answer if they are contested. The Guild therefore sent Professor Soddy's article to the principals and representative professors of scientific subjects in the Scottish Universities, and asked for an expression of opinion on the matter. Nine replies were received, but no attempt was made by any of the correspondents to refute the particulars given by Professor Soddy as regards the allocation of the amounts received from the Fund. The general opinion expressed was of a laissez-faire kind, with the addition of the following individual views :-(1) That the Board of Trustees should consist much more largely of men who are professionally and actively engaged in scientific work and have had experience of research; (2) that commercial education on a large scale should be taken in hand by the Trustees; (3) that a case had been made out for careful investigation, and that the matter should be considered by the British Science Guild to see what action, if any, is justifiable and practicable.
As the chief object of the British Science Guild is to safeguard the interests of science and promote the application of scientific knowledge to national welfare generally, the matter is one to which the Guild is bound to give attention. After careful consideration of the material placed before it, the Guild has come to the conclusion that Professor Soddy's serious charges should not be left unanswered, and that the diversion of the funds from their main purpose, as defined by Clause A of the Trust Constitution, and their use to strengthen the general finances of the Scottish Universities, deserve the attention of those to whom has been entrusted the future of science in national reconstruction.
The Guild is glad to note that three well-known men of science-Sir J. J. Thomson, O.M., President of the Royal Society; Sir David Prain, F.R.S., Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and Sir George Beilby, F.R.S.-were appointed at the last Annual Meeting of the Trust to fill the vacancies on the Board of Trustees,
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thus increasing the number of scientific representatives from none to three.1 Some adjustments in favour of scientific study and research may therefore be expected; but the Guild is of the opinion that the Trustees should consist chiefly of representatives of the scientific and other interests involved in proper proportions to ensure that the original intentions of the founder of the Trust are carried out justly.
With regard to the commercial interests, it seems probable that their representatives have been thoroughly awakened by the war to the necessity for better education. It is desirable, however, that these interests should not be satisfied at the expense of, but in addition to, those of science; and for this reason the British Science Guild, believing that Mr Carnegie's intentions admit of no dispute, desires to support Professor Soddy's claims that future allocation of the Trust Funds should be made more liberally, specifically, and inalienably for purposes of scientific study and research than has been the practice hitherto.
1 See footnote, p. 212.
CARNEGIE TRUST FOR THE UNIVERSITIES
IN the December 1917 number of the Journal was printed a Report of a Special Committee of the Guild on an article by Prof. F. Soddy, F.R.S., dealing with the Carnegie Trust and Scientific Research.
This report was forwarded to the Board of Trustees, and the following excerpt from the Minutes of a meeting of the Board, 7th January 1918, was communicated to the Guild in reply:
"A letter from the Executive Committee of the British Science Guild, dated 6th November 1917, as also the 'Report of the Special Committee of the Guild appointed to consider the whole matter of the Financial Operations of the Carnegie Trust as set forth by Prof. Soddy, F.R.S., in his article published in Science Progress for January 1917,' were fully considered.
"In the letter and Report criticisms of the application made by the Trustees of the half of the Trust Income under Head A. are put forward. These criticisms may be divided under two heads, and it was resolved to reply for the information of the Guild as follows:
"(1) As to the first, the Executive Committee altogether decline to admit the contention that the purposes to which one-half of the Income of the Trust falls to be applied can
1 Twelfth Annual Report of the Executive Committee of the British Science Guild, July 1918.