Twenty-four universities have been shortlisted in the new University Challenge Fund competition. Chosen from 45 applications, they must now prepare full business cases by January 19. The challenge fund, which is being supported by the government (Pounds 20million), the Wellcome Trust (18million) and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation (Pounds 2million), will enable successful universities to set up seed funds to finance early commercial developments. Winning universities will need to contribute at least 25 per cent of the total seed fund. Announcing the shortlist, Peter Mandelson, secretary of state for trade and industry, said the fund had been oversubscribed three times. "The full sweep of scientific and engineering disciplines is covered, with the biosciences especially strongly represented," he said. The announcement of winners is expected by March.