Government says it must support science research
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts is proposing that Government has “a creative role to play in working with researchers, universities and business to promote innovation”.
In a speech at the University of East Anglia, Willetts will set out the action Government is already taking as part of its high-tech strategy, including improved access to publicly-funded research.
”There are some basic steps we can take which are far more effective than I imagined two years ago,” said Willetts.
“We are not detached and above the fray. We are backing the risk takers, and are willing to take a risk ourselves,” said Willetts.
The Minister has announced that the Biotechnology and Biological Research Council will invest £250m in research institutes across the UK.
Government will invest up to £6.5m to encourage businesses to explore new industrial applications for synthetic biology, through the Technology Strategy Board and research councils.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will provide a grant of almost £5m to Imperial College London, Kings College London, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Newcastle to establish platform technology for synthetic biology.
The EPSRC will also fund its first ever manufacturing fellowships – there will be four, each worth around £1m.
“As Government is an insurance pool we can take bigger risks than any other player,” added Willetts.