The Government has announced that, as part of public sector efforts to invest in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), it will invest up to £100 million in researchers and small businesses.
The Government will allocate £78 million to its Future Leaders Fellowships scheme to enable 78 researchers to work on scientific and technological discoveries. Meanwhile, it will give the remainder of the cash to universities to support small businesses working in rapidly-growing industries and with AI, and clean growth and agri-food innovations.
These University Enterprise Zones (UEZs), which will form part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) programme, will provide specialist support to small businesses and raise the level of knowledge-sharing between academics and entrepreneurs through frequent collaborations.
As a spokesman for UKRI commented, the programme is committed to creating modern research and innovation careers, and the Future Leaders Fellowships aim to support and retain the most talented people, including those with flexible career paths.
The programmes will run across several cities in the UK, from Exeter to Durham, and the Government believes these will lead to several improvements in local economies.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore said that the 20 new UEZs, which the Government is creating, will help start-ups to use university research to build the businesses of the future.
The largest recipient of the UEZ fund is the University of Southampton, which will use a £1.5 million boost to fund the Future Towns Innovation Hub. Meanwhile, other prominent projects include Oxford Brookes’ £1.2 million AI & Data Analysis Incubator.
Nigel Fry, General Practice Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “The Government funding for SMEs and researchers is a welcome boost for businesses. With a significant focus on emerging technologies, this will give innovate companies the opportunity to develop new ideas and concepts.
“For advice on matters relating to Corporate Finance, please get in touch with our expert team today.”