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Technology Transfer key to boost UK productivity

Technology Transfer key to boost UK productivity

High Value Manufacturing Catapult

2 min read Partner content

Tremendous opportunities exists for boosting UK productivity if technological innovations can be adapted from one sector to another, explains the HVM Catapult.


UK productivity statistics do not make good reading. Since 2008, output per hour worked in the UK has failed to recover and is still 18% below the average for the other members of the G7 group. Bridging this gap is critical to our ability to compete in the high tech global markets of the future.

Established continuous improvement methods remain valid but closing our productivity gap requires significant step-change improvements. Such improvements involve the development and adoption of innovative technology solutions. The centres in the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult work with manufacturing companies of all sizes to accelerate the journey of new manufacturing technologies to commercially reality. Its recent economic impact figures show that the approach works - every £1 of government core investment in the HVM Catapult has already embedded £15 of manufacturing value-add in the UK economy.

It is no coincidence that much of its work is done with innovation hungry sectors that are already very productive, such as aerospace and defence - which increased productivity by 30% over the past 5 years, and the British automotive industry – which is the most productive in Europe. It is key that lessons learnt from innovation in these successful sectors are used for the benefit of the UK manufacturing economy.

There is tremendous opportunity for facilitating and encouraging innovations that are tried and tested in one sector, and translating them to applications in other sectors.

Additive manufacturing technology, of which aerospace is an early adopter, now finds seemingly limitless opportunities in the medical technologies sector including surgical instruments and orthopaedic implants.

The automotive industry has started to exploit the potential of advanced composite materials, which to date were mainly used in aerospace applications. In turn, lessons learned to reduce composites costs in automotive can then be ploughed back into aerospace.

The construction sector is exploring the adoption of advanced manufacturing techniques learned in other sectors to build quicker, smarter and cheaper.

These are just some examples of technology innovation adapting from one sector to another, creating new market opportunities and helping the UK move up the productivity league tables.

To mark its 5 year anniversary, Secretary of State Sajid Javid joins HVM Catapult at its reception at the House of Commons Churchill room on 28 June from 4pm to 6pm. Some of the innovations above will form part of the event exhibition.

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