Business innovation that helps local businesses to grow will be a key part of the government’s upcoming industrial strategy.
The message was delivered by Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, at his keynote speech on day 2 of the Innovate 2016 event.
Mr Clark also announced the publication of the first science and innovation audits, which map the specific strengths of regions across the UK.
And he added that the creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which will bring together the research councils and Innovate UK under one umbrella body, was part of a strategy to ensure Britain remained a world leader in science and innovation.
By including Innovate UK in UKRI we are ensuring business-led innovation and researcher-led science are well placed to work together effectively, helping to translate our world-class knowledge base into world-beating business.
Indeed, one of the biggest opportunities in creating UKRI is to actively enhance British innovation, and I believe that is how it should be judged.
The event hosted 25 new innovation launches by UK businesses and saw major announcements about new initiatives to support innovation.
ImmerseUK aims to make UK a world leader
Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network launched a new network for organisations and people working in augmented and virtual reality to help the UK become a world leader in immersive technology.
ImmerseUK aims to help those innovating in this area to work together to ensure the country takes advantage of the rapid expansion taking place in the market for immersive technologies.
New programme supports design
Also announced at Innovate 2016 was Design Foundations, a new £3 million Innovate UK grant funding programme to support businesses in using design in the early stages of the innovation process.
Its aim is to help businesses to tackle the right problems, generate ideas for desirable products, communicate the benefits of technology more clearly to investors and customers, stay ahead of the market and build design capability in their organisations.
Diagnostic business wins design award
A shortlist of 10 firms competed for Innovate UK’s Design in Innovation award. It was presented by Wayne Hemmingway, founder of HemmingwayDesign, to the eventual winner Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW).
DRW is tackling serious infectious diseases by making available breakthrough point-of-care diagnostics developed at the University of Cambridge.
Craig Wisniewski, director of engineering and manufacturing, said:
It’s fantastic to win this award. We’re in good company – everyone at Innovate 2016 is looking to solve real world problems – in our case HIV. Without Innovate UK we couldn’t have developed the SAMBA diagnostic system. It’s more more than just money, it’s the expertise and oversight that have been so helpful.
Blue Maestro, a business that has developed Bluetooth sensors and loggers to help people monitor themselves and the environment around them, won the peer-to-peer award.
Delegates to Innovate UK were asked to think like an investor and ‘fund’ the companies they thought were most promising based on a set of innovation notes.
Kirstin Hancock, co-founder of Blue Maestro, said:
We’re delighted to have won the peer-to-peer award at Innovate 2016. It’s been a great event.
The business makes the world’s first Bluetooth dummy that records a baby’s temperature, and time and date stamps the information. It also makes a range of Bluetooth sensors that can log temperature, humidity, sound and motion that are being used in transport, logistics and pharmaceuticals.