It’s hard to imagine the modern world without infrastructure. Think about what we rely upon every day:
- digital connectivity
Infrastructure is the both the backbone and the nervous system of society and the economy. So it’s vital that we start implementing next generation infrastructure that’s smart, integrated and digitally-enabled so that our economy can continue to grow.
Innovate UK has recently re-organised itself into four-sector based units. The one that I head up – infrastructure systems – brings together all our activity in this arena and recognises the importance we attach to this field.
Energy, transport and urban living under one roof
As we detailed in our 2016/2017 delivery plan, published earlier this year, our priorities for infrastructure systems are:
- Energy: Programmes will target the development of solutions that can help deliver affordable, sustainable and secure energy for the UK and in overseas markets.
- Energy Systems: We will support the development of key enabling technologies that can provide flexibility and resilience to the future energy system of electricity, heat and combustible gases.
- Energy Supply: We will support development of key supply technologies in nuclear systems and offshore renewable energy.
- Transport Systems: We will support the UK in leading the intelligent mobility sector, using enabling technologies to leverage a smarter, greener and more efficient transport system for the movement of people and goods.
- Smart and Resilient Infrastructure: We will support the development of new smart, resilient, value-adding technologies for infrastructure projects.
- Urban Living: We will support new, citizen-led future city solutions that improve and integrate multiple urban systems including energy, transportation, health and care.
During 2016/17, we will deliver 14 competitions or programmes of work to support the sector and have Our open programme enables businesses to address high-growth opportunities when their concept or idea might not fit one of the Innovate UK sector groups or is at the interface of multiple themes with differing scopes
Strengthening the Catapult network
One of Innovate UK’s priorities is to draw upon the strength of our innovation family. This means working ever more seamlessly with our Catapult network.
As regards to this, a priority during the year is to establish the new Energy Systems Catapult at its new permanent location in Birmingham. Also, we will work with the Transport Systems Catapult to identify key areas where we and other partners can support the delivery of the connected transport systems of the future.
The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult will bring on stream its newly acquired 7MW turbine at Levenmouth as a dedicated open access research facility, and the Future Cities Catapult will focus its expertise on helping high growth potential UK businesses tap into the opportunities brought by devolution and increasingly autonomous cities.
We need you
This is all vital work. Modern infrastructure can improve the quality of life of everybody. But we need you.
It is only through collaboration with business and research that we can succeed in addressing the societal and economic challenges we face, create the new jobs and industries of tomorrow and drive productivity.
Follow me on Twitter: @meikle567
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