A chip module that will allow digital images to be printed straight from the camera, bypassing a PC, is just one of the projects which will receive funding under a £4m government cash boost for research and development.

The Department of Trade and Industry's Science Minister Lord Sainsbury (pictured) yesterday announced the funding and named the 26 companies that will benefit under the Eureka scheme.

"Turning new ideas into jobs and prosperity is crucial to the UK's economic future and social well being," said Sainsbury.

Specialist software firm Colorgraph, located in Berkshire, is to develop the system-on-a-chip module which incorporates imaging manipulation and printing capabilities. The idea is that the chip can be integrated into any printer, allowing users to display, process and print pictures without a PC.

The scheme is part of a wider plan to increase European competitiveness in new technologies and to encourage collaboration between companies, universities and other institutions throughout Europe.

Other Eureka projects include Oxford-based Tetronics' plasma technology, developed to treat and eliminate risk waste materials, such as BSE infected tissue.

Over 40 UK companies, which are participating in the scheme, will receive a European seal of approval, although only 26 will receive cash funding.