Game-changing new fund opens in UK to boost science and tech research

26/07/2023

UP TO £50 million of Government investment in new UK research ventures will encourage greater private and philanthropic backing for UK science, research and innovation under new plans unveiled today (Wednesday 26 July).

This will help deliver the cash that is vital to finding new ways to tackle deadly diseases, and to harnessing new technologies that will underpin the economy of the future. The launch of the Research Ventures Catalyst will drive more private and philanthropic funding into UK R&D, building on the City of London’s position of strength as an international financial centre for the benefit of our scientists and innovators.

The new fund has been set up to pilot new ways of delivering research in the UK, allowing our brightest minds to take greater risks and pursue new means of working that might not be supported via traditional funding avenues. The Catalyst is opening for bids of up to £100,000 in ‘seedcorn’ funding to allow researchers to develop full plans for their proposed ventures.

Eventually, it will deliver up to £50 million of investment, backed by Government with additional private and philanthropic co-investment.

Secretary of State Michelle Donelan said:

“From Edward Jenner’s invention of the very first vaccine, to the scientists in Manchester who isolated graphene, so many of the Great British breakthroughs which have changed the world would not have been possible without people who dared to do things differently, and take calculated risks. In today’s world, that approach is just as important as ever.

“Research and innovation hold the keys to a vast range of benefits and opportunity, from radically improving healthcare to creating whole new industries in fields from quantum to engineering biology. But this work is impossible without funding. That is why, I am making an open invitation to private and philanthropic partners in the City and beyond to work with us through the Research Ventures Catalyst to put real financial firepower behind the world-leading science happening in the UK.”

Unlocking greater private and philanthropic investment in UK R&D is one of the key objectives of the UK Science and Technology Framework, and partnerships with industry and philanthropic investors are already delivering for the UK’s science sector.

The Government is continuing to engage with Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt, about their support of up to $20 million as part of our work to spur co-investment in science from private and philanthropic sources.

Delivering new, innovative, agile models of funding such as these delivers on the Government’s response to the findings of Sir Paul Nurse’s Landscape Review, and builds on the already-record levels of public sector commitment to spending on R&D. This Government has committed to invest £20 billion in R&D in 2024-2025.

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