Continuing to support and stimulate business growth through innovation, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) recently set out its delivery plan for the year ahead.  We have had a look at their plans and this blog has been written to provide a snapshot of their priorities and an overview of some of the key resources and opportunities that will be available to you.

The Budget

With a total budget of £440m for the 2013-2014 financial year, TSB will be committing £300m worth of opportunities, through 75 competitions.

SMEs Opportunities

Recognising the enormous potential that SMEs, in particular,  play in the commercialisation of  innovation, TSB will continue to provide a number of opportunities, including the following resources:

Innovation Vouchers

These will help businesses to look outside their existing networks to find the knowledge they need to increase their chances of commercialising innovation.

Smart Awards

These will help single businesses to assess the commercial viability of their projects.

Small Business Research Initiatives (SBRI) Grants

These 100% grants will help businesses to engage with the public sector consumer and customer.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)

KTPs will enable businesses to access the knowledge of specialists through partnerships with  universities.

Key Themes and Priorities

Thematic strands for the 2013-2014 year will include:

Energy… obtaining up to £35m for business-led projects and missions, and £10m for the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult,  focusing on sustainability, security and affordability of supply.

Resource Efficiency … receiving up to £8m for competitions, special interest groups and missions.  Emphasis will be on substituting at-risk and high-environmental-impact materials; resource life-cycles; and reducing material use and energy intensity.

Built Environment… opportunities offering up to £16m to business -led projects, and £10m for the Future Cities Catapult, prioritising systems integration, systems users and designed performance.

Food…seeing up to £14m committed to business-led projects, with engineering solutions, integrated farming systems and measurement technologies being priorities.

Transport… seeing business-led projects, studies and workshops receive up to £35m between them, and £10m going to the new Transport Systems Catapult.  Funds will be distributed enable to exploration of integrated transport systems, low-carbon vehicles, rail systems, marine vessel efficiency and aerospace.

Health…remaining a key priority with a £68m budget dedicated to activities, the Cell Therapy Catapult and the Biomedical Catalyst.  Priorities will include  disease detection, prevention and management; tailored treatments for disease; and progress towards potential cures for diseases.

High Value Manufacturing (HVM)… receiving up to £63m for the HVM Catapult, collaboration competitions, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, special interest groups  and building links with China.  Priorities will include resource efficiency, manufacturing systems and processes, new business models and the integration of new materials.

Digital Economy… having £37m dedicated to competitions, and £10m going to the Connected Digital Economy Catapult.  Priorities lie in exploiting data, new value models, resilient and interoperable digital systems and linking services to customers.

Enabling Technologies… focusing on challenge-based, cross-sector collaborations in areas such as robotics and autonomous systems, advanced materials, biosciences, electronics, sensors, photonics and ICT.  Up to £30m will be dedicated to activities in these areas.

Space Application… receiving up to £10m for the Satellite Applications Catapult, and a further £11m for TechDemoSat (industry and academia mission) and UKube (miniature technology pioneer), Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, special interest groups and competitions.  The emphasis will be on satellite data, space-based satellite systems, national and European space programmes and demonstration.

Emerging Technologies… developing, with a £7m budget for  special interest groups  and an innovation and knowledge centre in synthetic biology. Priority areas will include disruptive technologies, particularly synthetic biology, energy efficient computing and energy harvesting.

Keeping Up-to-Date

There will be many opportunities in the year ahead.  To make sure that you are one of the first to hear about competitions, events and discussions, why not sign up to the TSB’s _connect   network?  Simply join up and then browse the topical networks and special interest groups that interest you most.  A tip for you is to join groups that relate directly to your business or area of specialisation, and  also explore groups with specialisms that may interest you as potential areas of business.  There is a lot of cross- sector and cross-industry working going on, so you may find new and unexpected opportunities.

Good luck!

All the best

Susannah

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