The Government is to invest an additional £7m into the High Value Manufacturing Catapult following its successful first year, with a further commitment to open two new catapults in 2015/16.
Business secretary Vince Cable today outlined the expansion in the centres, set up by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), during a visit to the Satellite Applications Catapult in Harwell, Oxfordshire.
This will include an Energy Systems Catapult to help innovative UK businesses to tackle the challenge of creating energy systems that meet future supply and demand, both in the UK markets and overseas.
There will also be a Diagnostics for Stratified Medicine Catapult, which will help identify and provide the right care for individual patients and allow businesses to develop new treatments and reduce the cost of healthcare.
Dr Cable said: “Catapult centres have made a significant contribution over the last year, supporting businesses and developing new technologies. The total public and private sector investment in the Catapults so far is £1.4 billion and further investment will follow.
Innovation in Manufacturing is an upcoming event in The Manufacturer magazine’s highly successful Future Factory Series.
The event will take place on October 16 in London with keynote speeches and case study presentations that will explore how British manufacturers can find more efficient ways of developing new, more sophisticated products.
“By committing to investment in new technologies now, we are laying the foundations for the high-growth businesses of the future. This will allow them to grow, take on more employees and keep the UK at the forefront of global innovation.”
Chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board Iain Gray added that the introduction of the centres has impacted significantly on industry innovation.
“The Catapult centres have been set up to make real changes to the way innovation happens in the UK – to make things faster, less risky and more successful.
“We’re proud of the substantial progress made so far and excited by the very real prospects that the Catapults offer in support of future economic growth.”
The move coincides with TSB publishing its annual review of the Catapult centres, which highlighted its success so far.
Ms Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, supported the investment and the access to technology it would offer SMEs.
“This is good news for innovative manufacturers as the additional funding should help ensure the Catapult can provide the kind of cutting-edge technologies companies would not otherwise have access to.
“Looking forward we must now ensure that SMEs can easily work with Catapult centres to develop new products and processes and, as the Catapults evolve in the longer-term, their funding model should be developed to incentivise SME engagement.”