Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency, has outlined plans to invest £561m for the year 2016 to 2017.
The delivery plan will include a new sector focus – easier for industry, investors, and government to navigate. A newly devised 5-point plan, which will underpin activity across these sectors, has also been designed to drive growth and productivity. Innovate UK has announced intentions to bolster regional presence, and improve connections between SMEs and academics.
“To be globally competitive the UK must innovate and grow. Innovation is responsible for 50% of all productivity growth and the mission of Innovate UK is to help make this happen” says Dr Ruth McKernan, Innovate UK’s chief executive.
“We will build on our track record of success, focussing ever more closely soon scaling up SMEs, equipping them to reap the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution.”
Innovate UK has set up four sector groups: emerging and enabling technologies, heath and life sciences, infrastructure systems, and manufacturing and materials.
“ We have also simplified how we run funding competitions for businesses” added Dr Mckernan. “There will be 2 broad funding competitions covering each sector group per year, and 2 open competitions for applications from any sector or technology area. There will be other programmes and competitions in partnership with other government organisations”.
Innovate UK has invested £1.8bn into innovative projects since 2007. It’s estimated this investment has returned almost £13bn to the economy.