UK Government outlines £200 million TIC plans

The Science and Technology Select Committee has published its second Technology and Innovation Centres Report, outlining the Government's £200 million plans for a network of Technology Innovation Centres (TICs).

The report highlights that the funding for the centres will be funded by 1:1:1 among public, competitive public/private, and private funding. The model has been successfully trialled in Germany for the Fraunhofer Institutes.

"Innovation is a key driver of growth. Our plan for a network of elite Technology and Innovation Centres will target those areas that will have the greatest impact on growth and can benefit most from this new form of investment," said Minister for Universities and Science, David Willets,

Tim Bradshaw, Head of Enterprise and Innovation at the CBI welcomed the report asserting that it is "right to take a sectoral-led approach when deciding how these systems will work, but the hub-and-spoke model is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The appropriate model must be decided through an industry-led consultation within each sector.

"It's important to concentrate resources and funding on a limited number of technology and innovation centres, so as not to overstretch the £200m budget. The Technology Strategy Board should consider the lower number of six centres, ensuring each has the critical mass to be effective.

"We support the call for long-term funding for Technology and Innovation Centres and for this to come from a range of streams, but the one-third cap on funding from the private sector is too rigid. Opening up the possibility of more funding from the private sector, to constitute 25-55 per cent of the total, will drive greater innovation and growth."

Andrew Miller MP, Chair Science and Technology Select Committee, reckons: "It is important that TICs work with businesses of all sizes. We hope that small companies get involved and that this will strengthen their financial base and increase lenders' and financiers' confidence in their commercial prospects."