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Universities UK lobbying for FOI exemption for research information

Universities UK, the representative organisation of universities in the UK, is lobbying for an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act to exempt research information. An amendment was tabled to the Protection of Freedoms Bill by Andrew Miller MP to introduce a new subsection to the section 22 exemption for information intended for future publication. The amendment was identical to section 27(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act.

Andrew Miller: Unfortunately we did not manage to complete our scrutiny, because of the timetabling of the Bill. One issue that was brought to my attention by Universities UK was the potential for application of the Freedom of Information Act to impede international collaboration in research. That was dealt with in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, and I tried to insert a parallel provision in this Bill. Will the right hon. Lady instruct the appropriate Minister to meet representatives of Universities UK to discuss the issue as a matter of urgency?…

Mrs May: I think the hon. Gentleman, and I take a different view on the issue he raises about scientific research and the application of freedom of information provisions. However, although we disagree, I am happy to ensure that an appropriate Minister will be available to meet Universities UK and discuss this matter with it.

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