Government invests ?200m in technology centres

The centres will bridge the gap between universities and businesses, helping to commercialise the outputs of Britain’s world-class research base.

“We need to do more to ensure the UK benefits from its world-class research,” comments Business secretary Vince Cable. “These centres will help take ideas from the drawing board to the market place. They will play a key role in helping firms develop new products and processes so they can grow and prosper.

“Companies will be able to access technology and skills that would otherwise be out of reach.

Cable believes high-tech industries are the future of the British economy – they will help re-balance the economy and provide the highly skilled, well-paid jobs we need.

“Thanks to this major investment, British companies will be at the forefront of innovation,” he says.

The centres, which will receive the money over the next four years, will be based on the model proposed by Hermann Hauser (one of our Growing Business Awards judges) and James Dyson. The network will support businesses in developing and commercialising new technology.

They will allow businesses to access equipment and expertise that would otherwise be out of reach as well as conducting their own in-house R&D. They will also help businesses access new funding streams and point them towards the potential of emerging technologies.

Each centre will focus on a specific technology where there is a potentially large global market and a significant UK capability. Areas identified as possibilities by Hauser included plastic electronics, regenerative medicine and high value manufacturing.

The network will be established and overseen by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) but individual centres will have a high degree of autonomy.

The TSB will determine which existing centres to invest in by April next year and will then consider requirements for new centres.

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