Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: UK innovation and science seed fund

The UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (formerly known as the Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £40 million early-stage venture capital fund. Its purpose is to build and grow technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base.

Partners involved:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC), Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)

The scope and what we're doing

BBSRC is a core partner in the UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) which is a key part of our portfolio of enterprise and ventures support.

The fund bridges public sector research and private capital, nurturing new business arising from the world-class science undertaken in the UK in sectors such as:

  • biotechnology
  • synthetic biology
  • agriculture
  • healthcare
  • environmental technology
  • computer science
  • engineering.

UKI2S provides long term, patient capital to technology start-ups that spin-out of publicly funded research institutes, are based on a partner’s campus or are involved in very early stage commercialisation of synthetic biology. Beyond seed funding, UKI2S provides strategic advice and support to companies in their early stages.

It aims to make a financial return and assumes risk by investing at an early stage but has a wider role in the commercialisation portfolio of BBSRC and the other partners in:

  • enabling impact for economic and public benefit
  • helping to build innovative businesses
  • leveraging private investment
  • growing jobs.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

UKI2S has invested in over 65 companies and projects ranging from biotechnology to advanced optics, with nearly 50% of all investment raised spent on research and development (R&D).

Since its establishment in 2002, the fund has delivered a strong return on investment, with a Gross Value Added (GVA) per pound sterling invested ratio of 7 to 1. It has leveraged almost £620 million of private investment, at a leverage ratio of 37 to 1, and created over 700 highly skilled jobs.

Who to contact

Noriane Simon, BBSRC


UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S)


Last updated: 7 December 2023

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