An outline of how the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts will operate was unveiled this week. Plans include fellowships to help exceptional individuals.
Comments on the proposals are invited by mid-March, with the first programmes expected to come on line early next summer. With an endowment of Pounds 200 million from the National Lottery, Nesta will have up to Pounds 10 million a year to support talent and ideas.
One proposal is for between 25 and 50 fellowships annually to go to exceptionally talented individuals for three to five years. Support could include financial help to attend masterclasses, undertake research, travel abroad or secure intellectual property rights and would be between Pounds 25,000 and Pounds 75,000 per fellow.
The consultation proposes that fellows be nominated by invited bodies and individuals and that nominating bodies be reviewed annually and expert individuals appointed for just six months. An open nomination system could be considered in the longer term, as could a two-tier system that offers some fellows shorter-term aid.
The document also proposes support for individuals to help turn ideas into products, services or industrial techniques. It says support will have to be prioritised and suggests restricting support to inventions that score highly in terms of sustainability. The consultation proposes that Nesta might spend between Pounds 5,000 and Pounds 50,000 on each invention. In exceptional cases support of up to Pounds 100,000 might be considered.
The outline proposes holding open competitions for new ideas and inventions that focus on solving a particular problem.
Nesta will negotiate with individuals some return on its investment, in the form of royalties or equity deals.
Proposals for contributing to the public's knowledge and appreciation of science, technology and arts are also outlined.
Copies of the consultation are available from Nesta on 0171 861 9679. Responses should be sent by March 19 by post to Nesta Consultation Response, 1st floor, Gainsborough House, 33 Throgmorton Street, London EC2N 2BR; or by email to consultation. firstname.lastname@example.org