UK science receives £120 million boost

The UK Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt today unveiled details of how more than 200 universities, colleges, and hospitals across Britain will benefit from a £120 million science windfall.

In April 2001, institutions were invited to bid for cash support to develop the potential of their research and forge stronger links with industry.

The £120m is made up of four strands of knowledge transfer funding. £80m is aimed at supporting the continuing development of capacity in universities to interact with business and the community, whilst £15m is available to give further momentum to entrepreneurial education for science and engineering students.

A further £15m is earmarked to provide access to seed funds in order to assist the successful transformation of good research into good business; and £10m has been made available to enable public sector research establishments to develop their capacity to exploit their science and technology potential.

Previous winners of such funding include the Manchester Technology Fund. The fund received £4.5m to help companies such as International Interstitial Technologies, which is working to transform the lives of insulin-dependent diabetics by developing a glucose monitor.

The monitor will give an accurate measure of glucose levels throughout the day and track trends. Usual diabetic testing ‘strips’ which measure one-off blood samples from a finger prick give no clue as to whether glucose levels are rising or falling.

‘In the past we have failed to take full advantage of the fact that the UK has some of the best scientific and academic brains in the world,’ said Hewitt. ‘The Government is committed to ensuring that ‘invented in Britain’ becomes ‘made in Britain’.

The awards have been made as part of the Government’s Knowledge Exploitation Funding programme, comprising the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), Science Enterprise Challenge (SEC), University Challenge (UC), and the Public Sector Research Exploitation Fund (PSRE Fund).