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Government to put £39.5m into R&D

Lord Mandelson will announce plans to spend £39.5m in investment for research in medicine, logistics, agriculture and green construction
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor on

Technology companies are being given the chance to compete for £39.5m government funding for research and development.

Business minister Lord Mandelson is scheduled to tell a Technology Strategy Board conference on Tuesday that the funding will be open to companies working in fields such as regenerative medicine, transport and logistics, agriculture, infectious diseases and low-carbon housing.

"In difficult times, it's crucial that we capitalise on economic opportunities and invest in our future," said Mandelson. "That's why the Technology Strategy Board prioritises investments in expertise and technologies that offer prospects for growth or address major challenges."

In April, the government announced a reform of funding for research and development, saying in its New Industry, New Jobs report that previous efforts had not generated enough products going to market.

A total of £82.5m in funding is expected to be announced at the conference, Innovate '09, in London. The Technology Strategy Board will invest up to £50m over the next five years in sustainable agriculture and food production, under a new programme called the Innovation Platform.

Defra and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) will also make contributions to the Innovation Platform, which will bring together representatives from government, industry and academia to work on sustainable agriculture problems. Seven-million pounds of the £39.5m funding for R&D will come from the Innovation Platform's £50m total.

Also on Tuesday, the Technology Strategy Board outlined plans to spur development and commercialisation of research among businesses, in five areas: nanoscale technology; resource effiency; medicines and healthcare; biosciences technology; and emerging technologies.

The Technology Strategy Board is a non-departmental public body which distributes government funds to companies and research organisations, and reports to the Department for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

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