Universities are to teach science and engineering researchers how to make money out of their discoveries in a £25m government competition to set up eight science enterprise centres in Britain.
Under the Science Enterprise Challenge, announced by science minister Lord Sainsbury, universities are to bid for funds to establish world class centres of excellence.
The centres will foster the commercialisation of research and new ideas; promote entrepreneurship in science; and incorporate teaching of basic business start-up methods into graduate and postgraduate science and engineering courses.
The target is for centres to excel at knowledge transfer by helping turn good ideas in to good businesses. They will be expected to be become self-financing after five years.
Launching the scheme earlier this month, Sainsbury said universities were at the heart of the knowledge-based economy of the future and had a key role to play in changing the UK’s entrepreneurial culture. ‘We want to match the best in the world,’ he added.
Winning entries would bring together university teams with track records in exploiting science and engineering and forming start-up companies, Sainsbury said. ‘We expect to see innovative ideas in the teaching of enterprise techniques.’
Entries close on 14 April and the winning universities will be announced in the summer.
This week, Sainsbury also launched a special schools’ edition of Tomorrow’s Materials, a publication connected to the UK Foresight programme which aims to encourage young people to think about materials. Copies and resource packs are being sent to all middle and secondary schools.
The Department of Trade and Industry is running a competition with the BBC programme Tomorrow’s World to allow two schools to design products of the future.