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Lasers & Sources

UK report recommends innovation hubs

SPIE Newsroom
17 February 2011

The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has published a report on Technology and Innovation Centres (TICs) in which it welcomes the Government's £200 million commitment for an elite network of centres but warns that the money should not be spread too thinly.

The report recommends TICs follow the funding model used by the equivalent centres in Germany, the Fraunhofer Institutes, which includes:

  • one third public funding from government
  • one third competitive public-private sector funding i.e. UK or EU funding competitions
  • one third from private sector contracts from businesses

In identifying which existing centres in the UK will become TICs, the primary objective must be the quality of the science and the economic benefit to the UK. The committee is particularly attracted to the 'hub and spoke' model, as a way of spreading the economic benefit of TICs throughout the country.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts welcomed the committee's report. "Innovation is a key driver of growth," he said. "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."

Technology and Innovation Centres report (PDF)