In the Spring Chancellor Jeremy Hunt doubled down on a commitment to grow research and development (R&D) in the UK by investing a sizeable £20bn into the sector by 2024/25. This is the surest sign yet that the government sees research and development playing a central role in boosting the country’s economic fortunes. As part of the investment, Innovate UK – the UK’s national innovation agency that supports business growth and development across net zero, health living & agriculture and digital & technologies – received a 35% increase in funding for the nine UK Catapults, totalling £1.6bn.
This wider Catapult Network supports businesses in transforming great ideas into valuable products and services, delivering impact across the UK economy and enabling businesses to thrive in global markets. Since inception, the Catapults have collectively played a leading role in delivering over 18,000 industry collaborations, over 5500 academic collaborations and supported over 11,000 innovative SMEs across a wide range of sectors and extended international partnership projects.
Collectively, the Catapult network collaborates inclusively with innovators in the public, commercial and third sectors, nationally and internationally. Whether it’s pharma, biotech, electronics, finance, aerospace, manufacturing, telecoms, transport, places, energy, or space, the Catapults have a critical role to play. They support ingenuity across the entire UK innovation ecosystem, from the largest multinationals looking to boost efficiency and productivity, to startups striving to adopt emerging technologies and compete on the national and global stage.
Chair of the Catapult Network and CEO, High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Katherine Bennett CBE recently commented at the Shaping Future Skills event that, “far-reaching expertise, in-depth industry knowledge and a wide range of perspectives are a huge strength when it comes to problem-solving and innovation. Continuing to build a team with diverse skills and experiences therefore remains a priority across all the Catapults”.
The Catapults have gone even further to recognising the importance of inclusivity to their future success and as an essential element for a thriving RD&I landscape. The ‘Inclusivity in Innovation Charter’ has been signed by all of the Catapults across the Network formally committing them to fostering Equality, Diversity and Inclusion across their workforces, collaborators and suppliers.
It really is an exciting time to be part of the UKs inclusive growth ambitions and real focus on driving innovation.
If you’re struggling to diversify your organisation’s workforce, please get in touch as this is something McLean Public can support you with.