Why the Catapult is putting Britain in pole position
5 April 2015
The UK excels at generating great innovative ideas, but has historically struggled to capture the full benefit of those innovations. We’ve been missing the capability to bridge the gap between invention and commercial UK-based production.
We now have the tools to do this in the form of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, a government-sponsored programme with cross-party support.
The HVM Catapult was established just under four years ago and has already proved to be an unqualified success. We take much of the risk out of innovation by offering open access, world-class, industrial scale equipment across all aspects of manufacturing. The overwhelming industry demand and financial contribution for our services shows us that we’ve got our offer right.
With more than £450million of assets and more than 1,500 specialist staff, we make a real and significant difference. Our equipment, expertise and collaborative approach helps industry take the risk to develop radically new manufacturing technologies which make Made in Britain a high-value commercial reality, based on cost and productivity. There is no better antidote to offshoring than innovation. We find that our offer persuades companies not to offshore in the first place.
Multinationals work with us to develop new technologies which can result in major production investment. Examples of this are the two Rolls-Royce factories that were opened in Yorkshire and the North East in 2014. Smaller companies, such as Polyphotonix, used our expertise and facilities to help to develop their optical eye mask, predicted to save the NHS £1billion a year.
This is an exciting time for us. We are competing with other nations who also covet high value manufacturing. With our world class ability to create the ideas from our research base and our new capability to deliver them through the Catapult, the UK is in a great position.
Dick Elsy, pictured, is chief executive, HVM Catapult
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