25th April 2004
Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury, today called upon Britain's businesses to put forward new project ideas for a 50 million programme now available to support technological innovation. Speaking to over 500 business leaders, researchers and university academics at the Government's Technology Strategy and Programme Information Day at the Business Design Centre in London today, Lord Sainsbury said: "We have put aside at least 150 million over the next three years to support research and development and the sharing of technology innovations, areas critical to the growth of the UK economy. "Today, I have announced the first funding tranche of 50 million and I am calling upon businesses to work with research bodies to put forward projects for funding that could make a real difference to our economy. "Proposals are being invited for seven priority areas where businesses have told us that public support can make the biggest difference." The seven priority areas are: * bio processing; * technologies to support environmentally-friendly transport; * advanced composite materials and structures; * inter-enterprise computing; * renewable technologies; * disruptive technologies in electronics and displays; and * sensor and control systems. "These represent emerging technologies that have wide and pervasive applications in business, and achieve environmental and social benefits," Lord Sainsbury added. The money will be made available by open competition through two of the DTI's new business support products: Knowledge Transfer Networks and Collaborative Research and Development. These products were developed as part of a restructuring of DTI's business support that replaced a complex array of schemes with just nine products that are easier to use and understand. Grants of between 25 and 75 per cent will be made available for collaborative projects and 100 per cent grants will be available for proposals that help develop dynamic knowledge transfer networks in the specific key emerging technology areas. Applications can be made on-line via the DTI website. "Encouraging innovation and the demand for new technologies is essential to ensure UK businesses remain competitive in the tough global marketplace." Lord Sainsbury said. "Today's announcement marks a key step in the development of our Technology Strategy and Programme as recommended in our Innovation Report." Notes for Editors 1. Lord Sainsbury's speech and more details about the Technology Strategy, Programme and funding are available on the DTI website at www.dti.gov.uk/technologyprogramme 2. The Technology Strategy and Programme, of which today's announcement is part, was a key recommendation of the Innnovation Report published by the DTI on 17 December 2003. The Report is available at www.dti.gov.uk/innovationreport/index.htm. 3. More information on the new business support products is available at www.dti.gov.uk/bss/