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UK partners with private investors to spur tech R&D

Innovate UK R&D investors
Image credit: Shutterstock

The UK government has partnered with 29 private sector investors in a bid to spur more investment in companies carrying out R&D.

The R&D initiative, which is being run by Innovate UK, will see the government provide £110m. It is an expansion of the Innovate UK Investor Partnership Programme, in which private partners provide equity capital alongside government grant funding.

Archangels, Maven Capital Partners, Baltic Ventures, Angels@Essex and Concept VC are among the 29 investors joining the scheme.

According to the government, its previous 15 investor partnership programmes, which ran between 2017 and 2022, helped funnel £42.8m in grant funding and £123m in aligned equity investments into UK SMEs.

The government made the Innovate UK R&D announcement as part of its Global Investment Summit on Monday.

Michelle Donelan, the tech secretary, said: “We know that unlocking investment is critical, if we are to seize the potential for science and tech breakthroughs to create new jobs and industries, grow the economy, and tackle problems from health to energy.

“That is precisely why we are deepening our links with private investors to help UK businesses scale up, deepening the UK’s skills base, and working with the sector to build proportionate regulations that encourage innovation, and keep people safe.”

More sandboxes

Alongside the investor partnerships, the Department for Tech announced three new regulatory sandboxes in hydrogen, drones and autonomous marine tech. They are in addition to those announced in last week’s Autumn Statement.

A hydrogen challenge and sandbox has been launched by the UK Civil Aviation Authority to explore the use of the alternative fuel in the industry.

Hydrogen is a nascent yet promising fuel alternative being explored by several businesses in the UK. This week ZeroAvia scooped £92m for its hydrogen-electric aircraft engines.

In Plymouth, the council is leading an autonomous marine tech testbed to create regulatory frameworks and an evidence base.

Another testbed over in Milton Keynes will explore the use of drones in delivery services next to already established self-driving shuttles and robot delivery.