New state aid for unloved schemes

The Government is to start another funding challenge to attract public/private research partnerships into Foresight `orphans’ – less popular areas among priorities identified by Technology Foresight panels. Trade and industry secretary Ian Lang announced last week his intention to set up `a new Link Challenge competition focused on Foresight priorities which have not yet been […]

The Government is to start another funding challenge to attract public/private research partnerships into Foresight `orphans’ – less popular areas among priorities identified by Technology Foresight panels.

Trade and industry secretary Ian Lang announced last week his intention to set up `a new Link Challenge competition focused on Foresight priorities which have not yet been fully addressed by the research community’.

It would cover `areas such as sustainable development and human factors in markets and scientific advance’.

Up to £10m from the Department of Trade and Industry’s 1997-98 budget would be made available for collaborative projects, to be matched by at least equivalent private sector funds.

Chief scientific adviser Professor Sir Robert May said the exact areas would be announced later. Previous Link schemes, set up by the Office of Science and Technology before it came under the auspices of the DTI, had been restricted to proposals with the emphasis on science. The new scheme would be for `really interesting proposals with the emphasis more on technological development’.

Of proposals attracted last year `at least half the really interesting ones were in areas where they were least needed,’ he said.