Innovate UK is to invest £561 million in innovation over the next 12 months and take a more focused and efficient approach to supporting innovative UK companies. The delivery plan for the year 2016 to 2017 includes:
- a new sector focus that is easier for industry, investors and government to work with
- a 5-point plan to underpin activity across these sectors and drive productivity growth
- clearer funding programmes that are easier to navigate
- improvements to the way Innovate UK connects businesses to knowledge and partners
- a stronger regional presence
Chief executive Dr Ruth McKernan said:
To be globally competitive the UK must innovate and grow. Innovation is responsible for 50% of all productivity growth and the mission of Innovate UK is to help make this happen.
We will build on our track record of success, focusing ever more closely on scaling up SMEs, equipping them to reap the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution.
Clearer sector support
Four sector groups have been established within Innovate UK:
- emerging and enabling technologies
- health and life sciences
- infrastructure systems
- manufacturing and materials
We have also simplified how we run funding competitions for businesses.
There will be 2 broad funding competitions covering each sector group per year, and 2 open competitions for applications from any sector or technology area.
There will be other programmes and competitions in partnership with other government organisations.
High-level goals to drive productivity and growth
The new sector approach will be supported by 5 high-level goals:
- turning scientific excellence into economic impact
- accelerating growth by nurturing high-growth-potential SMEs in key sectors
- building on innovation excellence throughout the UK
- developing Catapult centres
- evolving funding models
Since 2007, Innovate UK has invested £1.8 billion in innovation, which has been more than matched by the private sector. This investment has returned between £11.5 billion and £13.1 billion to the economy. We have supported innovation in 7,600 organisations, creating around 55,000 new jobs.