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Fifty years ago a major injection of government money allowed six UK universities to purchase commercially produced computers. Prior to this only the universities of Cambridge and Manchester, pioneers in the design and construction of computers, had installed machines. Thus the new funding facilitated a very significant increase in computing resources for science and engineering research. Using archive sources, I explain the respective roles of two government agencies, the University Grants committee and the Advisory Committee on High Speed Calculating Machines. I set out the process by which universities were invited to bid for funding, discuss the universities' responses, and examine the rationale for certain universities being awarded grants while others had their proposals rejected.