Press release

£67 million to support British innovators

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Government ministers are announcing £67 million of funding to support British businesses and scientists.

  • £50 million to support emerging technologies in the UK
  • £17 million funding for up to 210 industrial PhDs
  • publication of 2 new reports into the health of the innovation landscape in the UK

Government ministers are today (5 November 2014) announcing £67 million of funding to support British businesses and scientists to bridge the ‘valley of death’ that lies between research and the marketplace.

Innovate UK – previously the Technology Strategy Board – is pledging £50 million to 7 new areas of technology where Britain is well positioned to take a leading role in the future like 3D printing of human organs, better drugs to tackle global needs and ‘free power’ for electronic devices.

Speaking at the Innovate UK 2014 Conference in London today, Business Secretary Vince Cable will unveil the organisation’s ‘Emerging Technologies Strategy’.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

Ideas are the currency of innovation and we must ensure we are doing all in our power to help our scientists transform great ideas into world-beating products.

Science and innovation feed into almost every industry you can think of, from car production to computing. That is why we are committed to supporting it, and will be outlining our strategy in December (2014).

Alongside this strategy, Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark will announce funding for up to 210 industrial PhD placements. A partnership between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and industry, these places will play an important role in creating new skills and forging closer ties between business and academia in the long term.

Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark said:

Our universities are renowned for producing world-beating research and fostering world-leading scientists. The announcements made today are further strides in bringing businesses and academia closer. This is crucial to ensure our scientists and engineers have the support and opportunities they need to unlock their research’s potential.

Also later today, the minister for the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey will announce the launch of The Digital Catapult Centre, a national centre to rapidly advance the UK’s best digital ideas. Three local Digital Catapult Centres in Sunderland, Brighton and Bradford are due to open in March 2015 and will contribute towards the Digital Catapult’s work to support 10,000 small tech businesses by 2018, delivering an economic benefit of £365 million.

These announcements come ahead of the UK Investment Summit Wales 2014 taking place on 21 November 2014, and the government’s widely anticipated Science and Innovation Strategy which will be published in December 2014.

Organised jointly by the Welsh and UK governments, the UK Investment Summit Wales 2014 event is bringing together 150 global investors, business leaders and senior government ministers with the theme of ‘embracing new technology for competitive advantage’.

Notes to editors:

  1. The government today published 2 reports on the health of the UK’s innovation landscape.
  2. An ‘emerging technology’ is one that is still emerging from, or has only recently emerged from, the research base. Innovate UK will commit more than £50 million during the lifetime of its Emerging Technologies Strategy over 7 important new areas. These are: Synthetic Biology, Energy-Efficient Computing, Energy Harvesting, Non-animal Technologies, Emerging Imaging Technologies, Graphene and Quantum Technologies.
  3. The strategy goes on to set out the 4 strategic themes which show how Innovate UK will work in these areas, namely:
    • identify and evaluate emerging technologies with disruptive potential to fully evaluate specific areas within each of these areas above
    • create a co-ordinated programme by building a co-ordinated series of investments with partners
    • accelerate the journey to market by investing in demonstrators, helping companies find partners (both in the UK and overseas) and enabling new standards
    • build critical mass and nurture capability by building communities of interest and continuing to fund particular areas and develop capacity.
  4. See a copy of the emerging Technologies Strategy at Innovate UK.
  5. Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (ICASE) provides funding for PhD studentships where businesses take the lead in arranging projects with an academic partner of their choice.
  6. The aim of these awards is to provide PhD students with a first-rate, challenging research training experience, within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and partner organisations. This will provide students with the exposure to industrially relevant research and provide them with the skills required for employment in industry following the completion of their studies.
  7. Find out more about the UK Investment Summit Wales 2014 event.
  8. The government’s long-term plan is to build a strong, more competitive economy and a fairer society. Industrial Strategy gives impetus to the plan for growth by providing businesses, investors and the public with clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel. The first achievements and future priorities of the industrial strategy have been published and can be found at Industrial strategy: early successes and future priorities