LONDON—Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will take the lead in discussions of the country’s science and technology priorities as part of a shake-up in Britain’s approach to research. And one of the first items on her agenda is a request from scientists to create a network of interdisciplinary, university-based research centers.

These are two of the features detailed in a series of documents released last month before the end of the British parliamentary session.

On July 20 the government announced the formation of a new central policy group, the Advisory Council on Science and Technology, which will report to a committee of ministers chaired by Thatcher. A discussion paper from the Advisory Board for the Research Councils, published the same day, outlined proposals for reorganizing university research, including giving the highest priority for grants to 15 research universities yet to be selected. A second paper from the board, issued a few...

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