Government announces £98 million investment in rising business stars

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Some of the rising stars of UK science and trailblazing small businesses will receive significant government support to help answer some of the world’s biggest scientific challenges and help turn ideas into viable products and services.

Government announces £98 million investment, allowing both UK researchers and small businesses to seize the vast opportunities in science and innovation and industries of the future.

Of this, £78 million will be invested in 78 scientists and researchers through the government’s Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, supporting many of those working at the cutting edge of the next scientific discoveries – including solutions to climate change and birth defects.

The remaining £20 million will be allocated to 20 universities to develop new University Enterprise Zones across the country to provide vital specialist support to small businesses in pioneering industries – like Artificial Intelligence (AI), clean growth, smart energy and agri-food. Oxford Brookes will receive @1.2 million for its Artificial Intelligence & Data Analysis Incubator (AIDA).

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Delivering on our research and innovation ambitions means putting people first, whether they are just starting out in their career or are leading major projects in academia or industry.

“These inspirational Future Leaders Fellows will generate the ideas of the future, helping to shape science and research for the 21st century. But to realise the full potential of these discoveries, their ideas need to be taken out of the lab and turned into real products and services, where they can actually change people’s lives for the better.”

The first wave of winners of the Future Leaders Fellowships scheme was announced earlier this year – with several projects now underway, ranging from tackling Alzheimer’s disease to helping emergency services reach the scenes of accidents more quickly.

The new fellows will help maintain the UK’s position as a global science and research superpower, with new fellows including Siddartha Khastgir, WMG, University of Warwick. Siddartha’s research will help overcome the barriers to rolling out driverless cars – running pioneering tests to enable the safe use of connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs)

This investment comes following the government reaffirming its commitment to invest at least 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027 and to publishing a roadmap this autumn setting out how it will realise this ambition.

The government has also launched a new immigration route enabling international students to work in the UK for two-years post-graduation, helping the UK attract and retain the brightest and best talent.

The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, which is run by UK Research and Innovation, will recognise 550 individuals with a total investment of £900 million committed over 3 years. The scheme helps universities and businesses in the UK recruit, train and retain the world’s best researchers and innovators, regardless of their background. They can apply for up to £1.2 million to support the research and innovation leaders of the future, keeping the UK at the cutting edge of innovation. Each fellowship will last four to seven years.

Fellows from across the region include Christopher Ballance from the University of Oxford and Siddartha Khastgir,Richard Moore, Heather Cegla, Tom Gur, Benjamin Richards, Matthew Spencer, and Angela Aristidou, all from The University of Warwick