Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt today unveiled a government investment package worth £80m which aims to boost UK technology research and development.
"This £80m investment, part of almost £400m from the government, is vital support to businesses to help take the new ideas and technologies out of the lab and into the market," she said.
Hewitt added that the investment fund is "not about picking winning companies", but rather about providing investment where there are clear gaps in the market.
"We want to kick-start R&D in these areas to ensure that the latest ideas and technologies can be turned into businesses, jobs and prosperity for Britain," she said.
Graham Spittle, chairman of the Technology Strategy Board, added: "This money will give a massive boost to companies developing exciting technology with long-term applications."
The £80m collaborative funding package is available from the DTI in the form of grants for R&D and to promote networks in the following nine high-priority technology areas:
Design, simulation and modelling
Powerful computing tools that allow designers and developers to envisage new systems, products and services.
Micro and nanotechnology
Exploitation at the micro- and nano-scale (atom and molecule) to produce materials with commercially valuable properties, e.g. strong, lightweight and hard wearing.
Finding ways of embedding devices and computer systems around us to provide access to content, applications and services that are on tap and dynamically personalised.
Waste management and minimisation
Developing new technologies to reduce or eliminate the creation of waste, find new ways to reuse and recover waste products, treatment of hazardous waste, and finding new alternatives to landfill.
Materials that respond to environmental stimuli, such as temperature, moisture, pH, or electric and magnetic fields, that can be used for novel commercial purposes, e.g. reducing the effects of earthquakes on bridges, or in sportswear.
Bio-based industrial products
Using biological agents to produce new products that lower costs through reduction in water and energy consumption, waste production and depletion of natural resources.
Technologies that can help the sustainable development of new and renewable energy sources.
A key technology for obtaining information about the location, shape and composition of people and objects, with a wide range of applications particularly in healthcare and security.
Opto-electronic and disruptive electronic technologies
Transmission and manipulation of information and energy in the form of light rather than electricity that could transform the world of silicon-based microelectronics.
This competition forms part of larger government funding to support businesses in their R&D investments. Over the period 2005-2008, a total of £320m of DTI funding will be available through a Technology Strategy with an additional £50m from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
To apply for the new funding, and to find out about other support offered by the government for R&D, companies should visit the DTI Technology Programme here.
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