Lord Mandelson has asked the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to guide the development of a network of technology and innovation centres designed to help deliver the industries and jobs of the future.
The TSB has been tasked to work with industry, stakeholders and wider government, including the Research Councils, Regional Development Agencies and Devolved Administrations, on the implementation of the recommendations in the Hauser review, a report by technology entrepreneur Hermann Hauser. The report looks at leading technology and innovation centres in other countries and recommends that the UK builds its own network.
The centres will collectively help to commercialise the output of the UK’s research and will drive economic growth in potential high-growth sectors that will emerge from commercialising technologies such as stem cells and regenerative medicine or future internet technologies. According to the TSB, commercialising these technologies could enable the UK to capture a significant proportion of global markets, potentially worth billions of pounds.
Lord Mandelson said: ‘Too often in this country we have been brilliant at research and let others walk away with the commercial benefits of development. If we are to develop new industrial capabilities in Britain, we have to get more D out of our R&D.
‘I am now determined that the UK builds a capability for the long term through a more strategic and sustained approach to investing in these centres. Hauser is right that these centres need long-term, predictable funding and I am committed to making that happen. I want to understand the UK’s strengths, weaknesses and where there are gaps we need to invest in.’
In his review, Hermann Hauser said: ‘The UK has a science capability second only to the US but falls short on translating scientific leads into leading positions in new industries.
‘Technology and Innovation Centres can help solve this shortcoming and give Britain the lead in some of the most promising technologies, leading to new industries with transformational economic impact.’
The TSB will set up a management board, as recommended in the report, that will be made up of a range of partner organisations including business representatives and public-sector funders. This group will advise the TSB on the right areas of focus. The intention is to report back by the Pre-Budget Report on the process, priority areas, scale of investment required and governance structure.