Technology Strategy Board secures budget of £440m
The Technology Strategy Board, a public body tasked with helping companies commercialise their ideas, has secured a budget of £440m to support businesses and drive growth across the UK.
The budget, an increase of more than £50m on last year, is expected to be confirmed today by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts.
The 2013-14 Delivery Plan sets out the Board’s priorities for the coming year and explains how businesses will be able to access support.
Technology areas that will benefit from the investment include energy, the built environment, high-value manufacturing, and healthcare.
‘The £440m budget means that there will be more funding available than ever before for businesses across the country to bid for and help turn their ideas into reality – bridging the so called ‘valley of death’, Willetts said in a statement.
The Technology Strategy Board works across business, academia and government, helping companies take ideas through to commercialisation; the Delivery Plan sets out how it will enable businesses to overcome challenges such as access to finance, knowledge, skills and equipment.
It will also open up opportunities for UK innovation to access wider, global markets such as India, China and Brazil through its Missions, involvement in EU programmes and bilateral agreements with other countries.
The Delivery Plan sets out commitments to invest over £300m through 75 new competitions that will help fund innovative projects across the economy. Some £55m will go to programmes in the healthcare sector, £25m to energy, £20m to transport and £25m to support initiatives in high value manufacturing.
SMEs remain a key focus, with a number of support mechanisms. The budget for the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) will be increased to £100m in 2013/14 and £200m the following year. This gives SMEs access to public sector procurement contracts.
The innovation vouchers scheme, which gives businesses the chance to access specialist expertise, will be expanded, and the SMART awards budget, at £40m, will continue to provide SMEs with grants to allow them access to new markets and invest in R&D.