Government promises billion-pound backing for British innovation

MTC Coventry

Britain’s world-leading researchers and entrepreneurs will benefit from an additional £780 million to create the technologies of tomorrow, Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced.

The Chancellor made the announcement during a visit to the West Midlands and the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry.

The Government plans to expand its ‘catapult centres’ which are fuelling innovation across the country as part of the UK’s ambitious, modern industrial strategy. This new funding  supports work in high-tech labs,  factories and advanced training centres.

So far this has helped create hundreds of new products, services and inventions, including a portable pollution sensor that parents can attach to a child’s buggy, cellular therapies to fight cancer and improve recovery of stroke victims, LED treatment for blindness, and more efficient wings for aeroplanes.

Philip Hammond, said: “Today’s £780 million investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need.”

Mr Hammond met with apprentices and workers, who specialise in automation and machining, at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry. This high-tech facility has benefited from £122 million of government funding, and is currently a world leader in 3D printing.

The UK has a reputation for innovation and is building on this strength with the largest investment in research and development in 40 years.

The catapult network supports sectors and technologies that are going to be in high demand in the years ahead. It brings together the best of UK business, science and engineering to work side by side in research and development to ‘catapult’ products from ideas to market. It helps remove barriers to growth, which often can include access to finance, inadequate facilities or skills shortages.

Dr Ian Campbell, Interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, said: “This significant announcement means our world-class network of catapults can build on their success and continue helping thousands of businesses across the UK to undertake innovative R&D. This long-term investment will mean the catapults can help deliver the Grand Challenges of the Industrial Strategy in their sectors and help the UK achieve its ambition to raise investment in research and development to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027.

In their first five years the catapults have supported around 3,000 small businesses to develop and exploit new technologies. They operate more than £850 million world-class facilities and are also training hundreds of apprentices and doctoral students, such as at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at Solihull where in the last year 900 apprentices have gained invaluable practical experience with cutting-edge technologies used in modern manufacturing.