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U.K. Devotes £60 Million for Science Entrepreneurship

Currency dice (MD4 Group/Flickr)The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council or EPSRC in the U.K. is funding 31 projects at British universities to encourage scientists to become new or better entrepreneurs. The £60 million ($US 95.3 million) program was announced today by Vince Cable, U.K.’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Under the program, EPSRC is offering what it calls impact acceleration accounts, ranging in size from ranging from £600,000 to £6 million. The funds are expected to encourage collaboration with industry, bridge the gap between the lab and the marketplace, and help scientists and engineers become better entrepreneurs.

Examples of activities supported by the grants include entrepreneurs in residence at Queen’s University Belfast, where experienced entrepreneurs are paired with university scientists to accelerate the time between scientific discovery and identifying a market opportunity. Another impact acceleration account, this one at University College London, will help small start-up companies in London developing digital products and services to test their offerings and gain customer feedback.

Other grants are expected to support short-term assignments of scientists and engineers to businesses to improve their knowledge and skills, returning to the lab with a better understanding of the way companies operate. While the official announcement said an objective of the impact acceleration accounts was to turn research outputs into commercial technologies, it gave no indication of direct support, such as venture financing, for individual companies or entrepreneurs at U.K. institutions.

Business Secretary Cable made the announcement at Space Syntax, a small company in London offering technical services for urban planning in the U.K., U.S., China, and Saudi Arabia. In the following video, Secretary Cable tells more about the impact acceleration accounts to an ITV reporter.

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Image: MD4 Group/Flickr

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