UPDATED: Qatar has teamed up with engineering giant Rolls-Royce to launch a fund pump priming billions of pound of investment into new green engineering projects.
The Gulf state is planning to build a new science and engineering campus in the north of England for start-ups to test and develop green technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, according to the Sunday Times.
The target is to create five “unicorn” companies — start-ups worth $1bn — by 2030 and up to 20 by 2040.
The fund will act like a venture capitalist, taking equity stakes in the projects, alongside venture capital firms and private equity.
Rolls-Royce will take stakes in some too, as well as make its laboratory and manufacturing resources available to start-ups.
It is hoped that the campus alone – its actual location in the north of England has yet to be decided, although Newcastle is seen as a frontrunner – with create 1,000 direct jobs, with thousands of other jobs spinning off from it.
If the project goes ahead, the two partners would launch a feasibility study to find a site in England, most likely in the north-east or north-west. The study would be completed by the middle of next year.
Although Qatar owns or has shares in iconic British brands and landmarks including Harrods, Barclays, Sainsbury’s and Canary Wharf, the fund will be run by the not-for-profit Qatar Foundation.
The deal was announced at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow on Monday.