CPI Welcomes Catapult Centre Review
Following the creation of the Catapult network in 2010, Dr. Hermann Hauser has today presented a review of the network to ministers Vince Cable and Greg Clark at Innovate ’14. The Review of the Catapult Network focuses on the future shape, scope and ambition of the programme.
Four years ago, Dr. Hauser advised the government to build a network of technology and innovation centres across the UK, which resulted in a £200m investment and the launch of seven Catapult centres*. Now, the review has evaluated their achievements and contributions to the UK economy, and presented a series of recommendations for their future evolution. The report praised the network for its input to date but advised that a ‘transnational infrastructure’ of the scale and scope of the UK’s competing nations was needed. While the government has invested heavily and effectively in its science base, the report identified the need to replicate this in terms of its commitment to research and development, as the UK continues to trail behind its global counterparts. In total, nine key recommendations were made, which if acted upon will strengthen the existing network and lay the foundations for its expansion to comprise 30 centres by 2030.
Speaking in the report Dr. Hauser said:
“There is a global race to bring new technologies to market more quickly, to gain first mover advantage and establish a dominant market position. Investment in the Catapults needs to be sustained in the longer term to maintain and increase the impacts and levels of value that have already emerged. Without a long-term commitment from Government to the balanced funding model, Catapults risk becoming focused on established markets where returns are more certain, rather than emerging opportunities which are riskier, but present large potential social and economic returns. Financial constraints will also affect Catapults’ broader functions like their ability to engage with and translate knowledge and technology from the research base in-house and make this knowledge applicable in a commercial environment.”
As one of the seven centres that were the founders of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, The Centre for Process Innovation contributed to the review. Speaking of its publication today, Nigel Perry, Chief Executive, CPI said:
“The findings within the Hauser review are encouraging and the acknowledgement that significant progress has been made in a relatively short period of time is particularly promising given our global competitors were so far advanced in the field of innovation.
“Dr. Hauser’s recommendations are welcomed at CPI and we fully endorse the need to strengthen working relationships between academia and industry. Bridging the gap between invention and innovation, knowledge and commercialisation, is critical if the UK is to compete effectively on the global stage. At CPI we have always taken a collaborative approach to innovation and tried to merge the technology readiness levels, enabling innovation to evolve effortlessly. As such it was reassuring to note that Dr. Hauser believes all Catapult centres must act in this way, as a ‘neutral convenor.”
“Now in our tenth year, CPI is proud to have played a part in the success documented in the report and welcome Dr. Hauser’s analysis and guidance to ensure we continue to add value to the network on all levels.”