The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council made a brave decision to go it alone with its Faraday partnerships late last year.
Fed up with waiting for the Department of Trade and Industry to commit money to the project, it launched the initiative with £1m of funding for each of four partner groups.
The idea, to encourage links between universities and small firms, has attracted tremendous interest with more than 70 bids.
Now the EPSRC is to go back to the DTI. It needs Government support – both for the principle and the hard cash to ensure its long-term future. Research and development within the small firms sector is notoriously weak and a critical area for improvement.
The Faraday partnerships can be an effective means of funding research projects with real commercial benefit. The EPRSC has had the courage to kick off the scheme. Now it deserves some Government money to give it a future.