In the 1981 CIRIA report, Long-term research and development requirements in civil engineering, I stressed that gures for expenditure on research were only available for work commissioned externally to an organisation.
In consequence the far greater expenditure on innovation undertaken internally - otherwise classiable under R&D - was neglected.
Yet Mike Chrimes (NCE last week) perpetuates this misunderstanding, compounding the error in making comparison with chemical engineering, which is industry based and hence under totally different conditions of commercial exploitation.
Ray O'Rourke (NCE last week) is correct to emphasise the need for innovation in order to compete and survive. So long as least cost dominates the market, innovation will not achieve the desirable priority.
Sir Alan Muir Wood, ICE past president, Bere Court Road, Pangbourne, Berkshire RG8 8JY