NI tech firms invited to compete for £100m sterling

20 May 2005

Technology firms in Northern Ireland (NI) have been invited to take part in a UK-wide competition for up to £100m sterling in funding to support innovative projects by the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry.

Firms across NI have the opportunities to turn ideas into commercial success as part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Pioneering Technology programme.

Focusing on eight priority areas that include biopharmaceutical bio-processing, emerging energy technologies and micro and nanotechnology, the current competition is part of the bi-annual competition underpinned by a £370m sterling, three-year government investment to stimulate collaborative research and development.

Chairman of the UK Technology Strategy Board Graham Spittle said: “We want to ensure the UK technology strategy adds value to the economy by helping local companies succeed in markets of the future.

“There is a special focus on the challenge of sustainability and continuing broad support for a range of underlying technologies. This mixture represents the first steps towards the development of a definitive long-term technology strategy; the focus of the Technology Strategy Board’s first annual report due to be published this autumn.”

For the first time, the current competition will allow consortia to bid for support for large demonstrator projects and has earmarked more than £50m sterling for the zero-emission challenge, emerging energy technologies and the validation of complex systems.

More than £240m sterling has already been allocated through previous competitions and grants awarded range from £30k sterling to £2.2m sterling across 16 key technology areas. The competition closes on 20 June.

By John Kennedy