New Hauser review hails second age of the Catapults

Posted on 14 Mar 2014 by The Manufacturer

Dr Hermann Hauser, whose 2010 review of UK technology commercialisation infrastructure guided the creation to the Catapult network, is to undertake a new review of its effectiveness and potential.

Business secretary Dr Vince Cable has commissioned the new review of the Catapults, which support the commercialisation and exploitation of emerging technologies and academic research.

Dr Hauser’s work will now focus on identifying ways in which the Catapults can be improved and expanded to maximise exploitation of the technology and resources they house and provide long term benefit to the UK economy.

Dr Cable announced the commission as he officially opened the

Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s offices in Glasgow.

This opening completes that set of the original seven Catapult centres which were announced in 2010. A further two centres were announced last year and will open in 2015.

The Catapult centres identify specific discipline’s or social challenges which face significant technological disruption in the near future which the UK can benefit from leading.

They accelerate the transition of academic research and emerging technologies to commercial application and exploitation by providing access to the best know how, collaborative partners and technology.

The ORE Catapult which Cable opened yesterday was set up to help answer the UK’s energy security challenges and to ensure Britain benefits from the growing global market for offshore renewable power generation.

It is estimated the offshore renewable energy sources could be worth up to £6.7 billion per year to the UK economy by 2020.

Commenting on Britain’s track record of technology exploitation at the Catapult opening ceremony, Cable said that while some “enviable” achievement have been made, “we have sometimes failed to commercialise new technology”.

“That is why the Catapult centres are so important for securing future economic growth, and ensuring that not only can we seize new global opportunities, but more importantly that we can leave the competition trailing in our wake.”

Cable said that he looked forward to hearing Hauser’s recommendations fo the next stage of Catapult development “because he has already proven he has the vision to set Government bold but achievable goals.”

The new Hauser report will be published this summer. Anticipating that moment, Hauser commented “I am delighted to have been asked by Vince Cable and David Willetts to oversee the review of the future shape, scope and ambition of the Catapult centres in the medium to long term. I look forward to engaging with all interested parties on this important policy area.”

The Catapult network is administered by the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency.

Responding to Cables comments on the need to now consider potential for improvement and expansion of the network, TSB CEO Iain Gray CBE said:

“This is the right time to take stock of the significant progress already made by the Catapults as we think about the future scope and scale of the network in the future.

“There is no one better than Hermann Hauser to do this review and we are absolutely committed to working with him to ensure a productive consultation period.”