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£70m fund to commercialise agricultural technologies

Science Minister David Willetts has annoounced a £70m ‘Agri-Tech Catalyst’ to help commercialise agricultural technology and bridge the so called "valley of death" between lab and marketplace.

The fund is open to bids and includes £10m of Department for International Development money to support the transfer of technologies to developing countries.

According to the Government agri-food supply chain is one of the UK’s largest manufacturing sectors and is estimated to contribute £96bn to the UK economy, and support more than 450,000 jobs.

This money forms part of a wider package of investment aimed commercialise UK technology and other funding projects include gene sequencing systems; ocean current monitoring and a cancer research hub at King’s College London. 

Mr Willetts said: “We are 1 of the most efficient research nations, and we get the best returns on our investment. We are investing to help translate our excellent science into commercially successful technologies which in turn boosts our businesses, creates jobs and drives economic growth.“ "The 8 great technologies are areas which experts have identified as, with the right investment, having the potential to make the greatest contribution to a high-tech, UK industrial revolution."

Professor Douglas Kell, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council chief executive, also commented: “Advances in agricultural technologies have underpinned virtually the whole of human civilisation and development. Today, advances in relevant basic, strategic and applied science provide a wealth of opportunity for the UK, both economically and socially.  “The launch of this Catalyst will help to translate our world-leading food and farming research into practice so that we can make the most of these opportunities and offer real contributions to global food security.“

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