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Back in August, Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that there would be almost £1 billion invested over the next five years in the Catapult network. This billion-pound investment was a way of ensuring Catapult’s longevity, completely funding all their innovation centres for the next 5 years.
This first instalment of £215 million has been released and will be directly channelled towards the Catapult centres responsible for Digital Innovation, Medicines Discovery, Future Cities and Transport Systems.
Catapult centres are the heart of innovation, research and development in the UK. They transform unique ideas into new products and services that ultimately ensure growth in the UK’s economy.
The digital centre supports advances in technologies such as AI, AR, VR and 5G which are a backbone for growth in the sector, with figures showing that businesses that work with Catapult employ 3 times more people than the national average.
The Medicines Discovery centre works hard to use new technological ideas to deliver new medicines to patients faster than ever before. They have recently teamed up with AstraZeneca and are endeavouring to create jobs in the UK’s bio-economy, maintaining its status as a worldwide leader in medical R&D.
The Catapult centres which lead innovation for Transport Systems and Future Cities have decided to join forces in their next chapter. They will collaborate ideas and use their expertise to tackle the major issues in modern inner city living. They want to work together to shape the future of mobility in urban areas.
Urban areas in the UK account for 83% of the population and it is estimated that by 2050 two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in urban areas, meaning great changes and advances in transportation technology are essential. Technological advances such as Artificial Intelligence and big data analysis are going to fundamentally transform the way people, goods and services move across our island nation.
This new partnership will operate from Catapult sites in London and Milton Keynes and will fundamentally change the way businesses can access world-class research and expertise. As the UK aims to be the leader in innovation for transportation and urban development, access to these Catapult sites will now be much easier, meaning businesses will be able to grow faster and create more jobs.
Margot James, Minister for Digital, is very excited about the announcement of extra funding that Catapult will be receiving, and said:“This additional funding will help us develop the cutting-edge technology of the future and build on the fantastic new statistics out today, which show we are leading Europe in producing fast-growing, digitally focused, billion-dollar businesses.”
Referring to the UK as a hotbed of innovative tech talent, she added that Digital Catapult centres would continue to play their vital part in ensuring the digital sector has the building blocks to thrive thus building a better future for Britain.
Gregg Clark, Business Secretary extended his support for Catapult, agreeing that they have the technical expertise and experience that will allow business to take on opportunities and face future challenges head-on. He reiterated that investment in the R&D sector is at the heart of the UK’s Industrial Strategy.
The Interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, Dr Ian Campbell, was pleased that the funding fully secured Catapult’s future for the next 5 years and completely supported the partnership between the Future Cities and Transport Systems Catapult Centres. He said their work will revolutionise how we get around.
For more information on this article and other R&D news, visit the gov.UK website