Cameron announces cash to bridge gap between lab and market

More than £200 million will be invested in a network of innovation hubs to improve links between universities and business, David Cameron has announced.

October 25, 2010

The Technology and Innovation Centre programme will drive growth by helping to “spread knowledge” from researchers to entrepreneurs, the prime minister said in a speech to the CBI annual conference in London today.

Originally proposed by the previous government following a review by technology entrepreneur Hermann Hauser, the centres will receive the money over the next four years through the Technology Strategy Board.

Mr Cameron said: “These centres will sit between universities and businesses, bringing the two together. They won’t just carry out their own in-house research: they will spread knowledge, too, connecting businesses – large and small, new and old – to potential new technologies, making them aware of funding streams and providing access to skills and equipment.”

He compared the model to Germany’s Fraunhofer institutes and an advanced manufacturing centre in South Yorkshire, where the University of Sheffield is working with engineering companies Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

Each centre will focus on a specific technology with a potentially large global market. Possible areas identified by Dr Hauser included plastic electronics, regenerative medicine and high-value manufacturing.

The Technology Strategy Board will determine which existing centres to invest in by April next year and will then consider requirements for new centres, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said.

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