Graham Vincent

Catapult innovation centres to receive £7m boost

Business Secretary Vince Cable has outlined a further £7m investment into innovation in an effort to safeguard the future of British business.

£1.4bn has already been invested in the groundbreaking Catapult centres, which are a network of innovation centres that, in its first year, was involved in 830 projects with almost 2,000 SME’s.

The £7m investment will create a new High Value Manufacturing Catapult centre.

The north of England will benefit from the investment, with two research centres in Yorkshire and another in Cleveland.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), in conjunction with Boeing, and the Nuclear AMRC will be ran at the University of Sheffield in Rotherham.

The Centre for Process Innovation will be based in Redcar.

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

The centres help turn great ideas into commercial realities.

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.”

Following the success of the 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.

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.”

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