New Catapults launched as part of £400m innovation drive

Investments of over £400m in UK innovation are to be made as part of the Technology Strategy Board’s 2014-15 Delivery Plan, which includes the launch of two new Catapult Centres. 

The 2014-15 Delivery Plan sets out TSB’s priorities for accelerating innovation across the UK, outlining plans that will develop and nurture British entrepreneurial talent.

Designed to find and fund top innovative ideas, 88 new competitions will see investments made in key areas including £82m to energy, £80m for programmes in the healthcare sector, £72m to support high value manufacturing, £70m to transport, and £42m for digital technologies.

Among the funding announcements today is the launch of Catapult Centres serving precision medicine and energy systems, plus the establishment of a permanent presence in Brussels to advocate British innovation abroad.

In a statement, universities and science minister David Willetts said: ‘We are global leaders in innovation and the Technology Strategy Board plays a crucial role in maintaining this, ensuring that great British ideas can be transformed into great British products.

‘Innovation is booming in this country, and it is part of our long-term economic plan to invest in ambitious entrepreneurs and businesses, to help them grow and succeed in the global race.

‘Small businesses remain a key focus for the TSB and along with continued strong support for small and medium enterprises through Smart, The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) and other programmes.

‘The Technology Strategy Board will introduce a new, UK-wide, small and medium-sized business growth programme, providing a package of skills, mentoring and coaching support, giving micro and small companies the capability to progress, attract potential investors and grow their businesses.’

TSB’s chief executive Iain Gray said: ‘To help match top innovators with possible investors there will also be a new online platform, developed in partnership with the British Business Bank and the UK Business Angels Association. This will showcase innovative companies to potential investors.

‘A further partnership – with the International Property Office and UK Trade and Investment will help small businesses access intellectual property and export advice.’

In a separate development, the Robotics & Autonomous Systems Special Interest Group (RAS SIG) is to launch its Robotics & Autonomous Systems (RAS) UK Strategy in London.

The RAS SIG has spent the past 18 months developing a unified plan for the future of RAS in the UK, which Willetts will help to outline later today.