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Competition for government cash for photonics gets underway

Interested photonics firms have until 30 November to propose research and development projects that could get up to £500,000 or more in matching funding from the UK government.

There is £17.75 million in government funding available for proposals from business-led teams that are collaborating on technology that is at an early development stage and unattractive for market finance. If awarded, funding will be up to 50 per cent of a project's total proposed cost. Awards are expected to range from £250,000 to £500,000 or more.

The £17.75 million is made up of £15 million from the UK government’s innovation incubator, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), and a further £2.75 million from Scottish Enterprise which supports firms based in Scotland. With the £15 million, the TSB could fund around 50 projects. Interested photonics companies can get advice on how to apply from the TSB’s Electronic Sensors Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network.

According to the TSB’s website, ‘[the] focus is on projects where recent technological discoveries or breakthroughs have inspired people to innovate in a context of significant technology risk, or have led to ideas that are yet to find applications in a recognised market or business sector.’

The competition, which opened on 31 October 2011, has two-stages. The first has a deadline for registration of noon on 30 November 2011. Further details are available on the TSB’s website. The second stage, which is for invited applicants, opens on 6 February 2012. The deadline for completed applications by invited applicants is noon on 21 March 2012.

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