In a joint press conference held yesterday the UK Department of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Defence launched the Civil Industrial Access Scheme. The scheme is aimed at encouraging the commercial sector, particularly small to medium-sized companies, to make use of Ministry of Defence research facilities. Facilities at the four main research sites – Admiralty Research Establishment, Royal Aircraft Establishment, Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment and Royal Signals and Radar Establishment – will be made available. Speaking at the launch the industry minister John Butcher said that the access scheme will offer companies the use of Defence facilities – such as wind tunnels – for experimentation; the secondment of scientific staff to collaborate in joint research projects; and advice from Ministry of Defence scientists and technologists on technical problems. The service is not free. Companies using the facilities will pay their own expenses and there will be an agreed fee for the use of facilities based on direct costs and a share of overheads. The scheme is intended to operatein tandem with the private company Defence Technology Enterprises Ltd (CI No 468) which works with the Ministry of Defence to transfer technology developed by Defence scientists into civil markets. John Butcher noted that although the scheme was aimed primarily at UK firms, each request would be dealt with on its merits.