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UK Government Accelerates Development of Emerging Tech With £50million Fund

The UK Government has put $50million towards the Research Ventures Catalyst fund. Based on partnerships with private and philanthropic investors, the fund is set to unlock tens of millions of GBP and drive new discoveries across the health, tech and science sectors.

The brightest minds in the UK will explore new means of working through the fund. This is due to a lack of potential funding through traditional avenues. By taking such risks, the fund enables the tackling of issues like deadly diseases and climate change. All the while it also encourages the development of emerging technologies.

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 £50million of investment, backed by the Government with additional private and philanthropic co-investment.

According to UKTN, a spokesperson for DSIT said the fund will decide the financial model of organisations in stage two of the programme, following seed funding.

Increasing investor confidence

Laimonas Noreika, co-founder of HeavyFinance, the agricultural lender, commented: “Financial backing is key to the research and development of climate tech, which is rising in prevalence as temperatures soar and we see the tragic events unfolding across Europe.

“The funding will encourage innovators to take new approaches with confidence and support will unlock further benefits in the fight against climate change. This will hopefully encourage investors to continue supporting climate tech companies and funds to provide sectors such as agriculture with the knowledge and technology they need to reduce carbon emissions.”

Steven Mooney, CEO of funding platform, FundMyPitch, added: “As funds such as these get introduced, we are getting one step closer the UK needs to create a thriving investment market. Startups and SMEs host plentiful potential and such combined efforts from the Government, private and philanthropic investors to support growing companies with their innovative products will alleviate any risks that may occur threatening the development of their ideas.

“Not only will we see fantastic new projects come to fruition, but we shall also see increased confidence from investors.”

Investing in UK R&D

The UK Science and Technology Framework has set out to unlock greater private and philanthropic investment in UK R&D. Such partnerships enabled by the fund are helping meet its objectives.

The Government is continuing to engage with Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of Eric Schmidt and Wendy Schmidt, about their support of up to $20million. This is part of its 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. It builds on the already-record levels of public sector commitment to spending on R&D. In turn, the Government has committed to invest £20billion in R&D in 2024-2025.

Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State, 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.”


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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