News from our Members and Partners

22 March 2012

Next Catapult centres to focus on Future Cities and Transport Systems

As part of the Budget day announcement, the government has revealed plans for two new centres that will demonstrate how technology and innovation can improve services and quality life in cities and develop integrated, efficient and sustainable national transport systems.

The Future Cities and Transport Systems Catapult centres will help stimulate economic growth by focussing on innovations that will give UK businesses a technological edge in global markets that could be worth hundreds of billions per year. The Technology Strategy Board ( will work with UK business to establish the centres in the coming months.

Higher Education and Science Minister David Willetts said:

“The Catapult programme is central to our plan for growth. By making long term investments in areas where Britain has, or can develop a technological edge, we can make sure that we take advantage of that in the future and be the first to bring new products and services to the market.  Now that seven Catapults have been announced, I look forward to seeing what they develop and hearing how they are leading the charge towards balanced and sustainable economic growth.”

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said:

“Both Future Cities and Transport Systems will be incredibly important areas of growth in the next 10-15 years. The market opportunity for integrated city systems is estimated to be worth £200bn a year by 2030. The market opportunity for effective transport systems is already valued at over £190bn per year. The proposed Catapult centres in each of these areas will help UK businesses gain an important share of these markets through more rapid commercialisation of new ideas.”

Both Catapult centres will bring together UK business and SMEs, (city) governments and academia to encourage businesses to develop exciting new ideas. They will also allow ideas to be demonstrated in a controlled environment and later developed into commercial products and services to be sold all over the world.  he Future Cities Catapult will look at ways to integrate city functions and services efficiently, putting the citizen at the heart of its operations. This will address a wide number of problems experienced in cities today, such as changes to population, demographics climate, congestion and healthcare. These issues are putting pressure on key resources within cities.  The benefits of citywide solutions include improved economic activity, quality of life for its residents and a lower environmental footprint.  The Transport Systems Catapult centre will focus on efficient and sustainable ways to move people and goods (freight) across national transport systems including road, rail, sea and air. Current transport systems are under increasing pressure from the rise in population and transportation needs.

Fully integrated transport systems will ease congestion and prepare for the future - rising population and growing number of goods shipped all over the world.

Cities Minister Greg Clark and Transport Minister Theresa Villiers both welcomed the news.

Cities Minister Greg Clark said:

“Around the world, more and more people are living in cities. While this can cause great problems, it also provides a massive opportunity to provide solutions to those problems. The new Catapult will help British businesses, and British researchers seize those opportunities, find innovative solutions, and then sell those solutions to the World.”

Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said:

“I warmly welcome the plan to establish a Transport Systems Catapult centre. I can see such a centre making a significant contribution to reducing road congestion, reducing rail delays and improving end-to end journeys by bringing together companies to develop new innovative products and services. These will benefit both the UK transport system and help UK companies to sell these innovative solutions to the rest of the world. The DfT has set aside £17 million to support this centre, which is in addition to the Technology Strategy Board contribution.”

The Technology Strategy Board will now begin a registration of interest phase for businesses and organisations wanting to be involved in establishing the Catapults.

This announcement completes an important consultation phase for the Technology Strategy Board and will mean that seven centres will be included in the current funding period to be established by April 2013.

The Technology Strategy Board has also committed to invest over £50 million of its budget in five important areas of research that were not included in the current phase of Catapult centre funding - Photonics, Sensors, Smart Grids, Resource
Efficiency and Complex Systems.


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