Keep the Tech and Innovation Centres focused

Between six and eight Technology and Innovation Centres will be established as part of a £200m investment programme.

Issuing a report on the initiative, the parliamentary Science and Technology committee said it would be important not to run too many projects to start with, as it would overly-dilute the funding available.

The £200m investment programme – first announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable last October – will fund IT research and development.

The committee said the respective projects should be financed using the “one third, one third, one third” model used by the equivalent technology innovation centres in Germany.

This would see the cost of the scheme shared between the government, public-private initiatives and pure private sector investment.

An annual cap on private sector funding should be put in place, however, as this will help encourage more “creative” ways of obtaining finance for R&D, the report suggests.

Commenting on the report, David Willetts, the minister for universities and science, says: “Innovation is a key driver of growth. Our plan for a network of elite Technology and Innovation Centres will target those areas that will have the greatest impact on growth and can benefit most from this new form of investment.”

The CBI has also endorsed the report. Tim Bradshaw, CBI head of enterprise of innovation, says:

“We welcome this report – it means that existing resources are fully mobilised, will avoid duplication, and deliver maximum benefit for the economy.

“It’s right to take a sectoral-led approach when deciding how these systems will work, but the hub-and-spoke model is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The appropriate model must be decided through an industry-led consultation within each sector.”

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