Great progress” made in establishing Catapult network

The Technology Strategy Board has made great progress in establishing a network of world-leading technology and innovation centres – Catapults – its Chief Executive will say in a talk at the House of Lords today

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Outlining the milestones reached since the Prime Minister announced late in 2010 that the Technology Strategy Board would be establishing, overseeing and coordinating the network, Iain Gray will confirm that all seven Catapults will be open and in business during 2013.

Iain Gray will be speaking at a meeting in the House of Lords on realising the vision of the Catapults programme, organised jointly by the Technology Strategy Board, the Institute of Engineering and Technology and the Big Innovation Centre and hosted by Lord Broers.

He will say that with investment of around £1 billion over the coming few years, Catapults represent one of the most important developments in UK innovation and technology and will make a major impact in the coming decades. This represents a significant investment by Government and one that has been welcomed across the research and innovation spectrum. The potential global market which could be accessed by UK businesses through each of the Catapult centres is likely to be worth billions of pounds per annum.

At the event, a new report on technology and innovation centres by the Big Innovation Centre will also be published. The report reviews examples from existing similar initiatives across Europe, outlines how the success of the Catapults programme might be judged and sets out some recommendations for how Catapults might best work with businesses, universities and public bodies to become catalysts for driving technology innovation and contributing to economic growth.

Welcoming the report, Iain Gray will say that as the Catapults programme is new for the UK this is uncharted territory, so it is important to ask what success will look like. While none of the technology and innovation centres established in other countries is an exact parallel of the UK’s Catapults programme, he will say that very useful lessons can be learned from all of them.

Technology and innovation centres were first proposed by the entrepreneur Hermann Hauser in a report for Government The Current and Future Role of Technology and Innovation Centres in the UK” and by Sir James Dyson in his Ingenious Britain” report.