Britain’s innovation agency will have a record £440m budget this year to help enterprises turn ideas into reality and bridge the “valley of death”– the perilous process of turning scientific breakthroughs into commercial successes.
David Willetts, science minister, said the extra funds for the Technology Strategy Board for 2013-14 represented an increase of more than £50m on last year. Investment will cover areas such as renewable energy, future cities, advanced materials, satellites, digital technologies and healthcare.
The increase follows a warning from the Commons science and technology committee that Britain was failing to secure the economic benefits of its world-class scientific research because the government had “no coherent innovation policy” for commercialising discoveries.
Businesses will be able to bid for the funds through competitions. The board will also continue to invest alongside the private sector in the network of seven technology centres known as “Catapults”, where businesses and researchers work together.
Mr Willetts said the board was “making a real difference in driving growth and keeping the UK at the forefront of the global race for innovation. Over 60 per cent of funding is going to small and medium sized businesses, meaning that there are great opportunities for businesses to thrive, grow and generate jobs.”
The strategy board aims to help companies overcome problems such as access to finance, knowledge, skills and equipment. Iain Gray, chief executive, said: “Everything we do is driven by the desire to help UK business bring new ideas and technologies to market and so support economic growth.”
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