Wellcome awards £40m for innovation

March 28, 2003

The Wellcome Trust announced new technology transfer awards worth £40 million this week, with some of the funding going directly to universities, writes Anna Fazackerley.

The investment coincides with the launch of the trust's technology transfer division, which has been created to maximise the impact of innovative science in healthcare.

Ted Bianco, director of technology transfer at the trust, said: "I think it is completely laudable that a charity is also wanting to put new healthcare solutions into society, in effect to challenge the status quo."

Dr Bianco said the awards, known as translation awards, would support ideas that were either too risky or at too early a stage to attract first-round finance.

He said part of the funds would be awarded directly to universities and the university technology transfer officer would manage the project. Awards will be up to £300,000.

The remaining funding will be targeted at more strategic areas, such as the technology to build on genomic and post-genomic projects.

The trust will manage these strategic projects itself.

Revenue and equity sharing will be standardised for the university awards.

But they will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the strategic awards.

Dr Bianco said: "We want to make the university awards a relatively light touch. We want to avoid being bogged down in regulations."

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