The government has announced a plan to help drive UK economic growth after it unveiled a package of investments for future technology.
It plans to invest up to £186m in eight technologies of the future, in order to “accelerate high-tech progress from the lab to the marketplace”.
It is not clear at this stage how much of this money is actual new funding.
The government investment scheme was announced by science and universities minister David Willetts in the Mountbatten lecture, hosted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. The aim of the scheme is to set out how the UK will tackle some of the greatest challenges facing the modern world, such as climate change, energy storage, food production and population growth.
“We are one of the most efficient research nations, and we get the best returns on our investment,” he added. “We are investing to help translate our excellent science into commercially successful technologies which in turn boosts our businesses, creates jobs and drives economic growth.”
The big data sector looks set for a boost, as the government has confirmed a £34 million investment has been assigned for a “new data research network, and four administrative data research centres to help the UK get ahead in the global technology race.”
This £34 million investment forms part of the government’s wider £189 million research initiative on ‘big data’, and is in direct response to the recommendations from the Administrative Data Taskforce (ADT) formed in December 2011.
Other non-IT funding announcements include £70 million for Agri-Tech Catalyst, which will help new agricultural technologies. And £44 million is to go on two projects to monitor crucial ocean currents in the North Atlantic which shape our weather in the UK. Another £3.5 million is to go to business-led projects to develop innovative tools and services like gene sequencing, for the UK synthetic biology industry.
On the medical side, £15 million is to go to King’s College London to create a Research and Innovation Hub within the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital. Another £10 million will go to the University of Glasgow to create a new Clinical Research Facility and imaging suite at South Glasgow Hospitals Campus.
The government also said £10 million is for the University of Southampton to build new engineering research facilities and infrastructure.
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