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The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund

UKI2S logo

The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (formerly The Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £27M, early-stage venture capital fund dedicated to kick-starting promising technology companies.

STFC is a core partner in the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) which is an important component in realising the commercial potential of our advances in science and technology. UKI2S provides seed finance to technology start-ups, spun-out of publically-funded research institutes or based on the national research and innovation campuses (including the Harwell and Daresbury campuses). The Fund is prepared to invest early and help to build a commercial proposition around a technology with the aim of attracting the additional investment needed to develop a product and take it to market. UKI2S was the first financial investor in Cobalt Light Systems, spun out of STFC in 2008, and continued to invest in Cobalt to help its growth until it was sold to Agilent in 2017.

To date, the Fund has supported over 30 high technology start-up companies in sectors such as health, environmental services, analytical instrumentation, and security. These companies have attracted over £320 million of private investment, created more than 240 high-value jobs and bolstered the UK’s exports with £90 million of overseas sales.

UKI2S was established in 2002 by a group of public sector research establishments with the shared aims of increasing commercial exploitation of publically funded research and earning a sufficient return to sustain a seed fund for the long-term. The Fund is backed by ten UK publically-funded research organisations and by managed by Midven, an established venture capital firm with a successful track record of investing in small and medium-sized enterprises. In 2017 UKI2S extended its reach to collaborate with the UK Catapult Network and partner in Innovate UK’s Investment Accelerator programme.

The core partners in the fund are:

  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Other partners are:

  • Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
  • Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE)
  • The James Hutton Institute
  • The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL)
  • The National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
  • Public Health England (PHE)

Further information and contact

For more information visit the UKI2S website or contact Carly Lewis.


Last updated: 23 February 2018


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