The UK government has become the latest national government to publicly show support for blockchain development, following the announcement of a new fund for innovation today.
Under the auspices of the government’s tech innovation arm, Innovate UK, a fund in the amount of $26 million will be made available to encourage and support businesses in the development of distributed ledger services.
The non-departmental body will make a further £12 million, or $17 million, available for helping qualifying companies in hiring graduates to assist with their developments.
The fund has been set up to offer support to innovative businesses across different sectors, so long as they fit the definition of “emerging and enabling technologies”.
To qualify, interested companies are required to submit a detailed proposal, which will be considered by both technical and business panels before acceptance.
Projects require a minimum cost of £35,000 up to a £2 million maximum, and must last at least 3 months to a maximum of 3 years. Applicants must also be able to meet 70% of the project costs themselves in order to be eligible for the funding.
According to details published on the UK government website, the fund is open to all businesses who meet the qualifying criteria.
“Innovate UK has up to £19 million to invest in innovative ideas for new products, processes and services in the fields of emerging and enabling technologies and health and life sciences. [Businesses] can apply to either industry sector, so long as [the] project meets the specific competition scope. A further £12 million is available in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP), which allows businesses to recruit graduates that can help…on an innovation project.”
The fund comes as the latest in a long line of efforts by the UK government in encouraging blockchain research, development and innovation.
Last summer, Innovate UK sought applications from companies to develop blockchain applications for the health sector, whilst a previous £250,000 fund was launched to encourage the development of technologies for international financial transactions.
In addition to business developing blockchain technologies, other applicants may be considered from businesses across other emerging technologies, including virtual reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Nevertheless, the fund could pose exciting opportunities for businesses in the blockchain space, and particularly for those with applications that could be of use in the public sector.