Catapult centres key to business innovation, says Cable

Catapult centres key to business innovation, says Cable

25 Oct 2012

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said the UK’s new network of Catapult centres will help drive UK business growth by commercialising innovation. 

Dr Vince Cable was speaking at a conference “What does success look like for innovation and technology centres?” at the Institution of Engineering and Technology in London, where he was joined by Technology Strategy Board Chair Phil Smith, the Chair of the BIg Innovation Centre, Will Hutton and senior representatives from major European innovation and technology centres, plus UK business and academic leaders.

The event provided an opportunity for international exchange between technology and innovation centres on how they identify, measure and benchmark success and good performance.

Dr Cable said that the UK could transform its capacity for innovation by following the example of countries such as Germany and other countries which have networks of such centres.

“Much of the inspiration behind what we’re doing has come from looking at this internationally, at international best practice and how best the UK can compete,” Dr Cable said. “We are an open country – open to foreign investment, open to foreign ideas, and I think that is one of the great strengths of this country.”

Dr Cable spoke about the importance of innovation to economic growth and living standards, arguing that “without innovation we would literally be living back in the Stone Age.” “Economic evidence suggests two-thirds of the rise in labour productivity and living standards comes from innovation,” he said. “In the UK this is absolutely fundamental to our future.”

The event was jointly organised and sponsored by the Technology Strategy Board – which is establishing the network - the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Big Innovation Centre and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Phil Smith, Chair of the Technology Strategy Board, said he wanted the Catapult centres to be recognised for excellence internationally, and that the UK needed to build partnerships with similar organisations abroad so it can access new technology developed overseas and help UK business to create partnerships with similar businesses abroad. “Catapult centres have a very bright future,” he said.

The IET President Andy Hopper said “We at the IET are glad to help the UK Catapult centres achieve success as they will make a vital connection between academic research and those working in the field.  The aims of the Catapult centres are aligned very much with the mission and the values of the IET."

Find out more about Catapults here

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Last updated on Monday 29 October 2012 at 08:55

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