The UK’s army of technical boffins have been boosted by ?780 million worth of new government funding to expand the nation’s network of catapult centres.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has said the catapult centres were already fuelling innovation across the UK as part of its Industrial Strategy. This new funding will further support, he said, work in high-tech labs, cutting edge factories and advanced training centres.
The catapult network supports sectors and technologies that are going to be in high demand in the UK years down the line. It brings together the best of UK business, science and engineering to work side by side in research and development to “catapult” products from ideas to market.
So far, the catapult’s have helped create hundreds of new products, services and inventions, including a portable pollution sensor that parents can attach to a child’s buggy.
It’s helped boost cellular therapies to fight cancer and improve recovery of stroke victims, LED treatment for blindness, and more-efficient wings for aeroplanes.
Hammond said: “It is by backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs that we will continue this progress and build an economy that is fit for the future.
“This ?780 million investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, as well as the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need.
In the first five years alone, the catapults supported around 3,000 small businesses to develop and exploit new technologies.
Felicity Burch, CBI innovation director, added: “The government’s ambition to make the UK a platform for innovation has received a booster shot, with news that the next five years of funding for these centres is guaranteed.
“Catapult centres bring together the best ideas from the UK’s research base and the market know-how of business. Supporting their long-term growth will help more business leaders to innovate successfully, delivering cutting-edge products and services to customers.