Jeremy Hunt announces science and tech VC programme

The Chancellor is looking to cultivate a group of investors specialising in AI, robotics and vaccines

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt used his autumn statement to announce plans for a venture capitalist fellowship programme, aimed at helping fund the UK’s science and technology innovations.

The UK is aiming to become a science and technology superpower by 2030, however, there has been a tendency from promising UK start-ups to attract investment and IPO abroad instead.

To combat this threat, Hunt is looking to cultivate a group of 20 homegrown investors specialising in science and tech – in particular AI, robotics and vaccines.

Rishi Sunak said in March that he expects AI to be as significant as the Industrial Revolution, announcing the government would pump £250m into the space.

The new £3m scheme will be developed by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and follows Hunt’s Mansion House reforms in July, where he announced the plan to funnel pension fund capital into high-growth tech start-ups.

That same month, the government also launched a £50m tech and science fund geared towards funding research into diseases, climate change and developing emerging technologies.

This new scheme, however, follows a recommendation from the Council for Science and Technology and is based on the successful Kauffman Foundation programme in the US.

“This scheme will produce a new generation of investment experts that will enable us to meet our science superpower ambitions – drawing on the eminent success of similar programmes across the pond,” a Treasury source was reported as saying by The Guardian.

More on science and tech funding

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London less attractive to foreign tech investmentBrexit and skills shortages blamed as number of foreign investments in UK tech businesses drops by 23% in 2022

Dom Walbanke

Dom Walbanke

Dom is a feature writer for Growth Business and Small Business, focused on matters concerning start-ups and scale-ups. He has also been published in the Independent, FourFourTwo magazine and various lifestyle...

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