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Government brings in tech entrepreneur to help lead innovation drive

Antony Savvas | March 18, 2014
Leading technology entrepreneur Hermann Hauser has been asked by the government to outline how its network of elite technology and innovation centres can be fully exploited to benefit the economy in the long-term.

Leading technology entrepreneur Hermann Hauser has been asked by the government to outline how its network of elite technology and innovation centres can be fully exploited to benefit the economy in the long-term.

Hauser helped set up the Acorn computer company in the late 1970s, has been involved in a large number of leading technology companies, and founded Amadeus Capital Partners.

Commissioned by business secretary Vince Cable and science and universities minister David Willetts, Hauser will "look at how to build on the progress already made and maximise the benefits from any possible expansion of the Catapult network", said the government.

Cable announced Hauser's involvement during the official opening of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult offices in Glasgow. This brings the number of Catapult technology and innovation centres to seven.

The ORE Catapult aims to drive innovation and ensure maximum UK benefit from offshore renewable energy resources. A report commissioned by the ORE Catapult estimates this could be worth up to £6.7 billion per year to the UK economy by 2020.

Cable said: "Britain has an enviable track record in innovation but in the past we have sometimes failed to commercialise new technology. That is why the Catapult centres are so important for securing future economic growth."

On Hauser's involvement, he said: "He has agreed to undertake this review because he has already proven he has the vision to set government bold but achievable goals.

Hauser will deliver his recommendations to ministers this summer. He said: "Following on from my 2010 report on technology and innovation centres, I am delighted to have been asked by Vince Cable and David Willetts to oversee the review of the future shape, scope and ambition of the Catapult centres in the medium to long term."

Among other areas, Hauser will be asked to consider how a future Catapult network links with other government organisations, such as the British Business Bank and Green Investment Bank.

His recommendations will feed into the Science and Innovation Strategy for the government's Autumn Statement 2014.

The Catapult centres have been established by the Technology Strategy Board, with £1.4 billion of public and private sector investment expected over the next five years.

Catapults in existence already, in addition to ORE, include high value manufacturing, satellite applications, cell therapy, future cities, transport systems, and the connected digital economy. Two more are in the pipeline, covering energy systems and precision medicine, due to open in 2015.

 

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