£3m grant support for biotech ‘demonstrators’

The Government's campaign to encourage the use of biotechnology in industry got a £3m boost last month, with the launch of a competition to award funding for demonstrations of biotechnology applications.

The demonstrator project, part of the DTI’s new BIO-WISE initiative to help industry realise the benefits of biotechnology, is offering to pay 25% of the costs of eligible projects offering the environmental benefits of cleaner technology.

Projects will be judged against a range of selection criteria including the potential to provide significant national economic benefits; projects within the chemicals, textiles and engineering industries as well as those with cross-sectoral applications and those that show significant environmental benefits. This year’s applications must be submitted by 1 June, 31 August or 30 November 1999.

The full BIO-WISE initiative picks up the baton from its predecessor, Biotechnology Means Business. While BMB was about raising awareness, BIO-WISE will be about implementation.

“BIO-WISE aims to sustain and enhance UK competitiveness in biotechnology and ensure that its benefits, economic and environmental, are realised through widescale implementation across industry,” said John Battle at the London launch.

With DTI funding of £3m over four years, the project offers businesses up to four hours of advice through its free helpline (0800 432100); a half day visit to companies with fewer than 250 employees; information and advice on the website; events and seminars.

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