Iain Gray, the Technology Strategy Board’s Chief Executive, said:
“A good deal of the innovation that happens in the UK comes from SMEs, and with innovation comes business growth. This new package of measures will help to put these businesses at the forefront of the country’s economic recovery. This package enables the Technology Strategy Board to do even more to stimulate business-led innovation in its leading role as the UK’s innovation agency.”
Additional funding will be made available for the Smart scheme – previously Grant for Research and Development. Smart offers funding to small and medium-sized enterprises to engage in R&D projects from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.
The SBRI programme, which uses the power of government procurement to drive innovation by providing opportunities for innovative companies to engage with the public sector to solve specific problems, will also receive additional funding. SBRI enables the public sector to engage with industry during the early stages of development, supporting projects through the stages of feasibility and prototyping.
The Technology Strategy Board will extend its Launchpad initiative, following the success of the Launchpad pilot supporting the development of the Tech City cluster in London. This provides base funding for approved R&D projects and then acts as a catalyst to help the companies behind the projects to attract more investment. Launchpad will be extended to support new and emerging clusters in other parts of the UK.
The Technology Strategy Board will also plan a new innovation voucher programme to support collaboration between SMEs and external knowledge providers, such as universities and the Catapult centres – the new technology and innovation centres.
In addition to the further support for SMEs, the Technology Strategy Board will work with a range of partners to implement a number of initiatives that will stimulate innovation across the UK, by companies of all sizes. These include:
- £25 million investment to enable large-scale demonstrators in areas such as integrated systems for cities;
- Investment in R&D in emerging technologies, with an initial focus on synthetic biology, energy efficient computing and energy harvesting;
- Working with BIS and the Research Councils to establish a joint fund with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology to pilot co-funded bilateral research;
- Additional assistance to help UK businesses to secure greater levels of EU finance to support R&D. This will include a review of the support system for potential UK proposers to EU funding programmes.
Further information about how the additional £75 million funding will be delivered to support innovation by SMEs will be provided by the Technology Strategy Board in due course.