Innovative businesses, including manufacturers with a focus on resource efficiency, could benefit from the support of the Technology Strategy Board’s (TSB) record £440 million budget for 2013-14.
Universities and science minister David Willetts (left) announced this funding boost of more than £50m on last year.
The aim of the board is to drive growth in the UK economy, which it does by allocating grants to businesses to support R&D, and working with Government and academia. Over 60% of TSB funding has been going to small and medium sized businesses.
The TSB’s 2013-14 Delivery Plan says its priority sectors for grants and support include renewable energy and high value manufacturing.
The plan sets out commitments to invest some £25m to energy, and £25m to support initiatives in high value manufacturing. More than £300m will be awarded in total, through 75 new competitions to identify projects.
Willetts said: “The £440m budget means that there will be more funding available than ever before for businesses across the country to bid for and help turn their ideas into reality – bridging the so called ‘valley of death’.”
The TSB said SMEs “remain a key focus”. Access to expert help will be expanded through the TSB’s ‘innovation vouchers scheme’, and the £40m SMART awards budget will continue to provide SMEs with grants to allow them to invest in R&D.
In addition, the budget for the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) will be increased to £100m in 2013-14 and £200m the following year, giving SMEs access to public sector procurement contracts. The SBRI programme is largely facilitated by the TSB but funded by Government departments.
The chief executive of the TSB, Iain Gray, said the Delivery Plan showed how the TSB supports the commercialisation of business ideas, “from direct funding through to access to expertise, facilities and finance”.