The new investment includes £51m for compound semiconductors in South Wales and £68.3m for satellite applications at Harwell.
The bulk of the money is going to the High Value Manufacturing Catapult that includes £270m for the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and the Energy Systems Catapult in Birmingham, as well as £65m for the National Composite Centre in Bristol working on new 3D printed materials and production technologies. This comes after £181m for other manufacturing projects in the north east UK announced last week, bringing the total to £960m.
However these are different from the Faraday Institutes that are working on commercialising the latest battery and power technologies.
“Today’s £780 million investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need,” said Philip Hammond, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer. “The catapult network supports sectors and technologies that are going to be in high demand in the years ahead. It brings together the best of UK business, science and engineering to work side by side in research and development to ‘catapult’ products from ideas to market. It helps remove barriers to growth, which often can include access to finance, inadequate facilities or skills shortages.”
In their first five years the catapults have supported around 3,000 small businesses to develop and exploit new technologies. They operate more than £850m world-class facilities and are also training hundreds of apprentices and doctoral students, such as at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult where in the last year 900 apprentices gained practical experience with the technologies used in modern manufacturing.