Press release

Independent expert to push forward Catapult network to new heights

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

A leading technology entrepreneur will outline how the government’s network of technology and innovation centres can be fully exploited.

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Leading technology entrepreneur Hermann Hauser will outline how the government’s network of elite technology and innovation centres can be fully exploited to benefit the economy in the long-term.

Commissioned by Business Secretary Vince Cable, and Science and Universities Minister David Willetts, Hermann Hauser will look at how to build on the progress already made and maximise the benefits from any possible expansion of the Catapult network.

The Business Secretary made the announcement during the official opening of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s offices in Glasgow. This brings the number of Catapult centres to 7.

By combining the existing knowledge in the offshore renewable sector with new resources, the ORE Catapult aims to drive innovation and ensure maximum UK benefit from offshore renewable energy resources. A report commissioned by the ORE Catapult estimates this could be worth up to £6.7 billion per year to the UK economy by 2020.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

Britain has an enviable track record in innovation but in the past we have sometimes failed to commercialise new technology. That is why the Catapult centres are so important for securing future economic growth, and ensuring that not only can we seize new global opportunities, but more importantly that we can leave the competition trailing in our wake.

I am pleased Herman Hauser has agreed to undertake this review because he has already proven he has the vision to set government bold but achievable goals.

Hermann Hauser who will deliver his recommendations to ministers this summer said:

Following on from my 2010 report on technology and innovation centres, I am delighted to have been asked by Vince Cable and David Willetts to oversee the review of the future shape, scope and ambition of the Catapult centres in the medium to long term. I look forward to engaging with all interested parties on this important policy area.

Technology Strategy Board Chief Executive Iain Gray said:

This is the right time to take stock of the significant progress already made by the Catapults as we think about the future scope and scale of the network in the future. There is no one better than Hermann Hauser to do this review and we are absolutely committed to working with him to ensure a productive consultation period.

There are currently 7 Catapults covering a range of sectors, with public and private sector investment of over £1.4 billion over their first 5 years of operation. Two additional Catapults – Energy Systems and Precision Medicine – are scheduled to open next year (2015). They focus on complementing existing research and innovation efforts by providing a business led, capital intensive infrastructure.

Notes to editors

  1. Hermann Hauser will be asked to consider the future scope and scale of the network – including looking at the different Catapult models, recommendations on future funding models, international strategy and how a future Catapult network links with other government organisations such as the British Business Bank and Green Investment Bank. His recommendations will be delivered to ministers by the summer 2014 to feed into the Science and Innovation Strategy for the Autumn Statement 2014.
  2. ORE Catapult is a technology innovation and knowledge centre established by the Technology Strategy Board for the identification, development and rapid commercialisation of innovative technology to deliver affordable, offshore renewable energy. The ORE Catapult works in collaboration with policy makers, industry large and small, utilities, owners and the UK’s research organisations.
  3. The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s offices in Glasgow sits within the International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone (ITREZ), and places the Catapult in direct daily contact with the cutting edge activities of research and development within the offshore renewable energy sector.
  4. The Catapult centres have been established by the Technology Strategy Board with £1.4 billion of public and private sector investment expected over the next 5 years. The Catapults bridge the gap between business, academia, research and government to promote and nurture technology innovation. For more information please see: www.catapult.org.uk/
  5. Catapults are a network of 7 technology and innovation centres covering a range of sectors including: High Value Manufacturing, Satellite Applications, Cell Therapy, Offshore Renewable Energy, Future Cities, Transport Systems and the Connected Digital Economy. Two more are in the pipeline - Energy Systems and Precision Medicine - and these are due to open in 2015.
  6. 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 4 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 March 2014