Jeremy Hunt to unveil US-inspired tech VC fellowship scheme

Jeremy Hunt VC fellowship Image credit: Kirsty O'Connor/HM Treasury.

The chancellor will announce a science and tech venture capital (VC) investment growth scheme inspired by the US in his upcoming Autumn Statement speech.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who has often stated a desire to turn the UK into the “next Silicon Valley”, is expected to announce plans for a fellowship programme to increase the supply of tech-focused venture capitalists, as first reported by The Guardian.

The scheme, said to be worth £3m, will offer up to 20 fellowships to act as a small but meaningful boost to specialist investment into the sciences. The scheme is in part based on the Kauffman Foundation in the US.

“The British science and technology industry holds the key to exponential growth that will turbocharge our economy for decades to come,” a Treasury source told The Guardian.

“This scheme will produce a new generation of investment experts that will enable us to meet our science superpower ambitions – drawing on the eminent success of similar programmes across the pond.”

The scheme will look to equip the investment community with knowledge to keep pace with the technical and scientific expertise of the industry, allowing for smarter investments to support Hunt and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s goal of creating a science and technology superpower.

The project will be led by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

A source from DSIT said: “Too often, groundbreaking innovations in the UK remain purely academic or are snapped up by investors abroad.

“By boosting the pool of investors with deep knowledge of the science and tech sectors, we can unlock real financial firepower for the world-class innovation that is happening in the UK and build British-based industries in the technologies of the future.”

Hunt is also expected to announce a major funding boost, worth hundreds of millions of pounds, to the UK quantum computing sector.