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Proposed repayable grant scheme for innovation under scrutiny

A repayable grant scheme being explored by the UK’s innovation agency will make it harder to raise money from private investors, a pharmaceutical lobby group has warned.

Tim Sawyer, chief investment officer at Innovate UK, told Research Fortnight that the agency was looking at mechanisms such as repayable grants to “anchor activity, investment and return in the UK” and to “help further provide the right support for businesses at the right time”.

The idea comes as the funder continues to roll out a pilot scheme of loans to help businesses develop novel products and scale up, as well as offering more traditional grants. According to Sawyer, Innovate UK recognises that “businesses need different forms of financial support to innovate and grow—depending on the technology, the sector, the level of risk involved and the maturity of the business”.

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