05 July 2001
Purchasing at the UK's seven research councils is to be streamlined with the creation of a new joint organisation.
The Research Councils' Procurement Organisation (RCPO) will have six of the seven research councils as founding members, with the seventh as an associate member.
The councils began moves to greater co-operation early last year, when the seven councils formed a purchasing consortium. The RCPO's creation was recommended in a report on procurement in April. Senior managers strongly supported measures to increase procurement performance.
The councils' annual direct spend is about £200 million with a further £100 million in grants to universities to buy equipment.
The new organisation, which will appoint a chief executive later this year, would make large savings as the councils all buy scientific equipment, said Carolan Davidge, a spokeswoman for the Medical Research Council, one of the members of the new body.
"We will be able to share expertise," she added.