The Technology Strategy Board’s goal is to promote economic growth.
I recognise the important role that universities play but we are not a funder of universities per se; there are other organisations whose remit is to fund universities. The Technology Strategy Board funds universities where businesses see the growth opportunity to engage with them.
The interesting and positive thing is that in adopting this approach around a third of our funding goes to universities – whether it be through collaborative research funding, funding support for university spin-out companies, through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme or though our support to the Innovation Knowledge Centres (IKC’s) and Catapult Centres.
We engage with over 4000 businesses through our collaborative R&D funding programmes, we have made connections with around 50000 members through the _connect platform and have provided Smart awards to over 800 businesses.
Our precommercial procurement programme SBRI has had over 100 competitions – over 1000 companies have benefitted through contracts with government departments – from tourism apps to health technologies. Our KTP programme has over 800 university to business partnerships and we recently launched the new Innovation Voucher Portal – linking many of the existing Innovation Voucher schemes from across the UK.
The pivotal role of the NCUB
So with all these business and university connections why do we support the new National Centre? It’s not about creating new funding competitions but about providing companies – large and small – quick access to the critical mass of the university knowledge base in the UK.
I am confident that NCUB will help to maximise the potential of university and business linkages and, in showcasing existing examples, will enable others to develop their own ideas and innovations with commercial potential.
I look forward to sharing with you, through NCUB, the success stories from our own programmes and identify future working opportunities for business and universities working together.