LONDON An initiative geared to develop new technologies that will be of strategic importance to the Welsh economy has been launched by the Welsh Development Agency.
A total budget of £3million is available from the Knowledge Exploitation Fund (KEF) for academic institutions to work on collaborative research and development projects with industry.
Under the Collaborative Industrial Research Projects up to half the project costs will be met by KEF funding to a maximum of £500,000 – which in turn is expected to bring in £3m of private sector funding and lead to the creation of sixty new jobs in R&D.
The scheme aims to develop R&D expertise in Welsh businesses and stimulate the formation of longer-term relationships between universities and businesses.
The Knowledge Exploitation Fund was set up by the Welsh Assembly Government with European funding and is managed by the WDA.
KEF director Pat Jones said “Technology based, industrially focussed research and development is a key factor in wealth creation and it is a matter of concern that the amount of money spent on R&D by businesses in Wales lags behind the UK average.”
This latest initiative is designed to benefit small and medium sized companies in Objective One areas in West Wales and the Valleys. Eligible projects have to involve one or more Welsh higher education institutions and at least two industrial partners, one of which must be an SME in the Objective One area.