National Research Development Corporation

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The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) was a non-departmental government body established by the British Government to transfer technology from the public sector to the private sector.


The NRDC was established by Attlee's Labour government in 1948 to meet a perceived need at the time to exploit the many products that had been developed during World War II by the Defence Research Establishments.[1] It was set up by the Board of Trade under the Development of Inventions Act 1948 [2] and the first managing director was Lord Giffard.

The NRDC was established in India in 1953 to help develop and promote technologies developed at various national R&D institutions.[3]

The first commercial size hovercraft, the SR-N1, was built under a contract let by the NRDC to Saunders-Roe in 1958.[4]

In 1981, the NRDC was combined with the National Enterprise Board ('NEB') to form the British Technology Group ('BTG').


Typically the NRDC would patent the product for commercial exploitation and earn royalties as private sector companies generated sales from those products.

Examples of such products include carbon fibre, asbestos-plastic composites and developments in semi-conductor technology.[1]

The development of the hovercraft would also not have taken place without the involvement of the NRDC.[5]


Further reading[edit]

  • Lavington, Simon. "NRDC and the Market." Moving Targets, History of Computing (2011): 147-191.
  • John Crawley (1993) NRDC’s role in the early British computer industry. Resurrection, the Bulletin of the Computer Conservation Society, issue number 8, winter 1993, pp 25–32
  • Crawley HJ (1957) The National Research Development Corporation Computer Project. NRDC Computer Sub-Committee, paper 132, Feb 1957.

Source documents[edit]

  • National Archive for the History of Computing, University of Manchester