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University Challenge Fund

Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many academies have been sponsored to move into industry with the help of the University Challenge Fund; how many businesses have been (a) supported and (b) started up with help from the University Challenge Fund; how many of the businesses and projects supported have subsequently failed; and if she will make a statement. [119642]

I have taken the hon. Member to mean academics rather than academies. University Challenge is not designed to sponsor academics to move into industry, nor does it support established businesses. In their first three years of operation, the 15 Seed Funds established in 1999 have assisted the creation of 159 spinout companies. It is too early to assess the long-term survival rates of these companies, but an evaluation of the University Challenge Scheme is expected to begin in mid-autumn.