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DSIT unveils £50m Research Ventures Catalyst fund

Research Ventures Catalyst fund
Image credit: Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has unveiled a Research Ventures Catalyst fund that will supply up to £50m for science and technology research.

It is funded by the UK government, with co-investment coming from private and philanthropic sources, including the former chief executive of Google.

Michelle Donelan, the tech secretary, said: “Research and innovation hold the keys to a vast range of benefits and opportunity, from radically improving healthcare to creating whole new industries in fields from quantum to engineering biology. But this work is impossible without funding.”

Applicants can apply for as much as £100,000 in “seedcorn” capital from the DSIT Research Ventures Catalyst fund.

A spokesperson for DSIT told UKTN the fund will offer grant funding at the seed stage and the financial model of organisations will be decided in stage 2 of the programme.

The funding is aimed at helping researchers mature their businesses where they might not get support from “traditional funding avenues”.

Applicants for the Research Ventures Catalyst fund must secure co-investment for their proposals.

Eric and Wendy Schmidt’s philanthropic organisation Schmidt Futures will provide up to $20m (£15.5m) of the overall £50m DSIT research fund. Eric Schmidt served as CEO of Google between 2001 and 2011.

Donelan added that she is “making an open invitation to private and philanthropic partners in the City and beyond to work with us through the Research Ventures Catalyst to put real financial firepower behind the world-leading science happening in the UK”.

DSIT, a new government department formed in February, has announced a range of funding this year, including £72m for scientific research infrastructure and £54m for AI university research.

Read more: How did DSIT fare in its first 100 days?