Press release

Government commits further investment to innovation

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

Vince Cable outlines a significant expansion in the groundbreaking Catapult centres that help turn great ideas into commercial realities

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Business Secretary Vince Cable has today outlined a significant expansion in the groundbreaking Catapult centres that help turn great ideas into commercial realities.

Established by the Technology Strategy Board, the Catapults are a network of seven technology and innovation centres covering a range of sectors: High Value Manufacturing, Satellite Applications, Cell Therapy, Offshore Renewable Energy, Future Cities, Transport Systems and the Connected Digital Economy.

Following the success of these centres, a commitment has been made to invest in two new Catapults in 2015/16. An Energy Systems Catapult will help innovative UK businesses tackle the challenge of creating energy systems that meet future supply and demand, both in the UK and overseas. And a Diagnostics for Stratified Medicine Catapult will help identify and provide the right care for individual patients, allowing businesses to develop new treatments and reducing the cost of healthcare.

An extra £7 million is also being invested in the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. In its first year the centre has been involved in 830 projects and engaged with almost 2,000 small and medium sized enterprises.

Speaking during a visit to the Satellite Applications Catapult in Harwell, Oxfordshire, Vince Cable said:

Catapult centres have made a significant contribution over the last year, supporting businesses and developing new technologies. The total public and private sector investment in the Catapults so far is £1.4 billion and further investment will follow.

By committing to investment in new technologies now, we are laying the foundations for the high-growth businesses of the future. This will allow them to grow, take on more employees and keep the UK at the forefront of global innovation.

Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board Iain Gray said:

The Catapult centres have been set up to make real changes to the way innovation happens in the UK – to make things faster, less risky and more successful. We’re proud of the substantial progress made so far and excited by the very real prospects that the Catapults offer in support of future economic growth.

The Technology Strategy Board has today published its annual review of the Catapult centres highlighting their success so far. The Satellite Applications Catapult has played an important role in the development of firms like WeatherSafe. The company has developed an ‘app’ which allows Rwandan farmers to access weather information, improve the management of their coffee crop and fight pests.

The Cell Therapy Catapult is getting ready to open its new £7.5 million laboratory at Guy’s Hospital, London, and has already confirmed collaborations with GSK, the UK Stem Cell Foundation and Loughborough University. It has started developing projects that range from exploring new manufacturing technologies to formulating appropriate regulatory responses to emerging therapies. The global cell therapy industry is expected to have an annual turnover of $20 billion by 2025.

Notes to editors:

  1. For a copy of the Catapults annual review please see the Technology Strategy Board’s website at www.innovateuk.org.

  2. For more information on the Catapult programme and the seven existing centres please see www.catapult.org.uk.

  3. The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.

  4. Enquiries about The Technology Strategy Board and the Catapult programme: James Easey on 07557 086952 or email James.Easey@tsb.gov.uk.

  5. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

    • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
    • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
    • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
    • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 13 August 2013