Govt to fund £186m investment in tomorrow’s technologies

Posted on 10 Oct 2013 by Tim Brown

The Government has announced a £186m investment package to help solve global problems by accelerating technological developments in big data, space and satellites, robotics and autonomous systems, synthetic biology, regenerative medicine, agri-science, advanced materials and energy storage.

The package of investment in the 8 ‘technologies of the future’ will accelerate high-tech progress from the lab to the marketplace and help drive UK economic growth, Science and Universities Minister David Willetts announced.

In the Mountbatten lecture, delivered at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, David Willetts set out how the UK will tackle some of the greatest challenges of our time, like climate change, energy storage, food production and population growth.

Mr Willetts announced that a £70m Agri-Tech Catalyst, which will help new agricultural technologies bridge the so-called “valley of death” between the lab and the marketplace, is open for bids. This will support one of the UK’s largest manufacturing sectors, with the entire agri-food supply chain estimated to contribute £96bn to the UK economy and support more than 450,000 jobs.

This includes £10 million from the Department for International Development to support the transfer of technology and new products to developing countries.

Other funding includes:

  • £44m for 2 projects to monitor crucial ocean currents in the North Atlantic. These currents shape Britain’s climate and weather patterns and this information could help meteorologists better predict the weather
  • £3.5m in business-led projects to develop innovative tools and services like gene sequencing, for the UK synthetic biology industry
  • £15m for King’s College London to create a Research and Innovation Hub within the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital
  • £10m for the University of Glasgow to create a new Clinical Research Facility and imaging suite at South Glasgow Hospitals Campus
  • £10m for the University of Southampton to build new engineering research facilities and infrastructure
  • £34m investment in a new data research network and 4 administrative data research centres to help the UK get ahead in the global technology race

Science Minister David Willetts said: “The British scientific and technological revolution is something to be proud of. By investing in these 8 great technologies I firmly believe that the UK will continue to be at the forefront of the global technology race.

“We are 1 of the most efficient research nations, and we get the best returns on our investment. We are investing to help translate our excellent science into commercially successful technologies which in turn boosts our businesses, creates jobs and drives economic growth.”

The 8 great technologies are areas which experts have identified as, with the right investment, having the potential to make the greatest contribution to a high-tech, UK industrial revolution.

The new technologies help support the government’s wider industrial strategy – a long term approach across the whole of government to give businesses the confidence to invest and grow.