Cable Targets Catapult Hubs With Extra Cash

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Written By Saeed Maleki

Cable Targets Catapult Hubs With Extra CashBusiness Secretary Vince Cable is targetting extra funds for technology and innovation hubs across the UK.

The catapult hubs are aimed at hothousing research in several innovative business sectors.

Run by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the government has seven hubs working closely with universities, research institutions and businesses.

Now, Cable has pledged to extend the hub network by adding two more – and pledged extra funding for others.

The catapult hub network covers the following sectors:

  • High value manufacturing
  • Satellite applications
  • Cell therapy
  • Offshore renewable energy
  • Future cities
  • Transport systems
  • The connected digital economy

New hubs for energy systems and diagnostics for stratified medicine have been given the government green light.

Cash for research

The energy systems catapult will investigate new ways of sourcing and producing energy. The medicine hub will develop better treatments for patients and look at ways to decrease healthcare costs.

The high value manufacturing hub has won an extra £7 million in funding after involvement in more than 800 projects with 2,000 small and medium enterprises over the past 12 months.

Cable made his announcement while visiting the satellite applications hub in Oxford.

“Catapult centres have helped small businesses develop new products and technologies over the past year,” reports he said. “More investment is on the way and I am pleased to announce the first extra money today.

“These hubs are a foundation for new businesses and let them grow faster than ever before by clearing funding and other hurdles for them. They will keep Britain at the head of global innovation.”

Real results

The TSB has also released information about other projects, like a software app for coffee growers in Rwanda that helps them manage crops by improving weather forecasting and a £7.5 million lab opened at Guy’s Hospital, London, leading pathfinder research for cell therapies.

Private and public investment for the hubs now totals £1.4 billion.

Iain Grey, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “Our aim is to make the cost of research less risky for businesses and to smooth the way for them to take new technology to market.

“The current hubs are showing real results, which is why we want to open more. These businesses will be world leaders and their success will generate jobs and growth for the British economy.”

The TSB has also issued five technology challenges to try to resolve problems holding up some projects.

See the CRACK IT challenges

Download the TSB annual report