22 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

£145m cash injection aims to boost UK innovation

HVM Catapult CEO Katherine Bennett: a welcome investment

Innovate UK, working with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is investing £145m in UK innovation in a series of schemes, including £27m for the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult to lead net-zero and industrial transformation projects that support the manufacturing and construction sectors. The investments also include £45m of support for industries and dedicated hubs, institutes and centres across the UK.

The investments follow the Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement and build on the recent announcement of a £4.5bn package to drive economic growth in eight key sectors of UK manufacturing, including automotive, aerospace and clean energy.

The new funding includes £1.5m for the Manufacturing Technology Centre to work on technologies to identify and quantify the condition of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete in public buildings. The aim is to develop a mass-produced replacement capability.

£50m will be earmarked for UK Research and Innovation’s Faraday Battery Challenge to advance the UK’s battery manufacturing capabilities, from R&D to industrialisation. This includes enhancing the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre’s development facilities, boosting its ability to commercialise new chemistries and future battery technologies, and to scale up emerging innovations. In addition, a new Advanced Materials Battery Industrialisation Centre will harnesses capabilities in the West Midlands and North-East to bridge the gap between laboratory research and commercial production.

The funding also includes:
• £50m to boost Catapult activities and capabilities in high-growth sectors, including digital and net-zero;
• £20m for the Foundation Industries Sustainability Consortium, which brings together five centres of excellence to address barriers to scaling up research for the foundation industries that are critical to achieving commercialised innovation as part of the UK’s innovation strategy;
• £25m for critical infrastructure in strategic areas including AI, telecommunications, materials science and quantum technologies;
• £8.8m for the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult to enable electrical testing of the next generation of wind turbine generators, and innovative energy storage systems; and
• £4m to expand the Compound Semiconductor Application Catapult’s Future Telecoms Hub at the Bath and Bristol Science Park.

“This is a welcome investment that recognises the vital role that Innovate UK and Catapults play in delivering economic growth,” says Katherine Bennett, CEO of the HVM Catapult and chair of the Catapult network. “The high-impact infrastructure investments that add up to £50m will enable Catapults to drive innovation-powered green growth across the UK, equipping supply chains with the world-leading technologies and technical skills they need.”

Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee adds that the investments will enable innovative businesses to grow and deliver against some of the biggest global challenges. “These investments are part of our core domain activities across net-zero, digital and technologies, and healthy living and agriculture,” he says. “They enhance national capability through our world-leading Catapults, and will be deployed across the UK.

“Innovate UK is committed to providing businesses unparalleled access and support throughout the innovation pathway,” he continues. “These investments, and the partnerships in place to deliver them, are helping to drive forward the UK’s technological and economic ambitions.”

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