Business innovation supporter Innovate UK has welcomed an announcement made by the Chancellor to provide fives years of funding for its Catapult technology and innovation centres.
Catapult centres are a UK-wide network of innovation hubs designed to transform the UK’s capability to innovate in specific areas and help drive future economic growth.
Through a series of physical centres, the very best of the UK’s businesses, scientists and engineers work side by side on late-stage research and development in a bid to transform ideas into new products and services.
Dr Ian Campbell, executive chair of Innovate UK, said: “Today’s significant announcement means our world-class network of Catapults can build on their success and continue helping thousands of businesses across the UK to undertake innovative R&D.
“This long-term investment will mean the Catapults can help deliver the Grand Challenges of the Industrial Strategy in their sectors and help the UK achieve its ambition to raise investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.
“In their first five years, the Catapults have supported around 3,000 small businesses to develop and exploit new technologies.
“They operate more than £850m world-class facilities and are also training hundreds of apprentices and doctoral students, such as at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult where in the last year 900 apprentices have gained invaluable practical experience with cutting-edge technologies used in modern manufacturing.”
The funding builds on the success of the Catapult centres and is seen as a huge vote of confidence in the scheme.
Catapults are a key part of the UK’s commitment to spend 2.4% of GDP on research and development, making sure the UK remains the go-to destination for innovation and product development.
In the five years since the first Catapults were established, they have supported around 3,000 small businesses identify, develop, and exploit new technologies, products and services, making businesses more productive, helping boost exports and attracting inward investment.
Innovate UK will continue to support the Catapults, improving their strategies, governance and performance management as part of UK Research and Innovation.
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