Board of Invention and Research

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Board of Invention and Research
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Agency overview
Superseding agency
Jurisdiction Government of the United Kingdom
HeadquartersAdmiralty Building
Parent agency Admiralty

The Board of Invention and Research (BIR) was a British expert-level committee, initiated by the Admiralty of the Royal Navy. Established in 1915, the board was responsible for soliciting expert scientific assistance to solve tactical and technical problems. [1] It was a sister organisation to the Munitions Inventions Department which had been set up in April 1915 and the Air Inventions Committee (AIC), once it became become fully operational in the summer of 1917. [2]



The Board first met on 19 July 1915 at the Whitehall Rooms in the Metropole Hotel, and remained based at the Metropole until the board and its scientific facilities were moved to permanent headquarters at Victory House on Cockspur Street. [3]

Chaired by Sir Jackie Fisher, former First Sea Lord, the BIR recruited of a number of scientists working in six science and technology divisions, [1] which assessed and evaluated invention proposals from the public, with a view to applying them to naval technology and tactics. [4] During its operation from 1915 to 1918, the board evaluated over 41,000 submissions. [1]

In 1918, the BIR was superseded by the Scientific Research and Experiment Department, [5] which operated until 1946 and was then re-organised into the Royal Naval Scientific Service. [4]


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  1. 1 2 3 Schneider, William (2009). Operations Research Applications for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance: Report of the Defense Science Board Advisory Group on Defense Intelligence. Darby, PA: DIANE Publishing. p. 13. ISBN   1437917208.
  2. Pattison, Michael (1983). "Scientists, Inventors and the Military in Britain, 1915-19: The Munitions Inventions Department". Social Studies of Science. 13 (4): 521–568. ISSN   0306-3127.
  3. Hackmann, Willem (1984). Seek & strike : sonar, anti-submarine warfare, and the Royal Navy, 1914–54 (1. publ. ed.). London: H.M.S.O. ISBN   0112904238.
  4. 1 2 Research and development in the Royal Navy, The National Archives.
  5. Archives, The National. "Records of Royal Naval Scientific Service". The National Archives, 1912–1995, ADM Division 12. Retrieved 18 February 2017.

Coordinates: 51°30′26.7″N0°7′48.1″W / 51.507417°N 0.130028°W / 51.507417; -0.130028