The cost of building such a network is consistent with recent calls, such as by the CBI, to double the UK’s innovation spend to bring Innovate UK’s budget closer to £1 billion per annum by 2020.
There are currently seven Catapult centres across the country with a further two due to open in 2015. Each Catapult is focused on a specific area of technology and expertise with great global potential for UK businesses. They bring together the best people in their fields with cutting-edge facilities to help business develop new products and services.
In a report published today at Innovate 2014, Hermann Hauser sets out his recommendations to ministers on the future scope, shape and ambition of the Catapult network.
These include sustained investment in the existing Catapults, keeping with international best practice by maintaining the third/third/third funding model, more effective engagement with small businesses and a more coherent model for working with Universities.
Today’s report follows Hermann Hauser’s original 2010 report to ministers when he originally recommended the creation of an elite network of technology and innovation centres in the UK.
Hermann Hauser said:
“I have been genuinely surprised at the degree of progress made and impressed by the quality of the people and facilities in the emerging network. The UK is playing catch up with the best innovation systems in the world in translational infrastructure, so I was very encouraged to see how rapidly we are closing the gap.
“I have made nine key recommendations in this report which, if acted upon, will strengthen the existing network. I look forward to seeing a flourishing Catapult network in the decades to come providing the UK with a similar structure in depth as other competitor nations and a long lasting impact to the UK’s economic performance.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“Innovation without commercialisation is like a car without an engine.
“While the Catapult Network has been a success story for British innovation, taking our world-leading capabilities in areas like high value manufacturing and satellite applications to new and promising levels, I want to make sure we are getting enough bang for our buck.
“That’s why I asked Hermann Hauser to conduct this follow up review. It was his original 2010 report that recommended the creation of the centres so we will carefully consider the findings of this review, which will inform the thinking around our upcoming Science and Innovation Strategy to be published next month.”
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, said:
“I am very pleased that Hermann Hauser has recognised the positive role Innovate UK has played to date in setting up the Catapults, and how they fit with our full range of innovation support for businesses.
“His recommendations to Government present a very clear vision of the long-term future for Catapults, and he sets out key challenges for sustained progress, such as more effective SME and university engagement, and how we develop a pipeline of future Catapults.”
For a copy of the report please see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/catapult-centres-hauser-review-recommendations