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UK to Fund Small Business Feasibility Studies for Genomics, Bioinformatics Technologies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The UK government and economic development organizations in Scotland and Northern Ireland plan to invest up to £2.8 million ($4.6 million) to fund small businesses pursuing feasibility research projects, including those involving various omics and bioinformatics technologies, the Technology Strategy Board said today.

The TSB, Invest Northern Ireland, and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise will provide between £50,000 and £150,000 to fund collaborative, pre-industrial research projects in four broad technological areas: biosciences; advanced materials; photonics, sensors, and electronics; and information and communication technologies.

The main aim of the funding is to support early-stage projects that small businesses will conduct in-house, that have a significant level of technical risk or uncertainly, and in which a business partner will attract up to 65 percent of the project's costs.

In the biosciences area, TSB said it will seek out proposals for technologies that will enable multiple applications or could be used in a variety of products.

These research areas include projects seeking to advance commercial applications of sequencing technologies focused on genomics ; integrating genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic and phenomic data collection and interpretation capabilities; biological imaging systems and biosensors; probes, markers and diagnostics platforms; and tools that integrate or exploit phenotyping technologies.

TSB also plans to fund development of bioinformatics tools for organizing, filtering, and interpreting biological data, and biological production and processing tools for use in metabolic engineering for manufacturing biological products, among other applications.

TSB plans to begin accepting applications in May.