A new UK network of Technology and Innovation Centres (TICs), supported by more than £200m of public funding, will be set up to drive growth in high-tech industries.
The TICs will act as a bridge between the business and academic sectors. They will support companies in developing and commercialising new technologies, and help them to access new funding streams.
Business secretary Vince Cable said: "We need to do more to ensure the UK benefits from its world-class research. These centres will help take ideas from the drawing board to the marketplace. They will play a key role in helping firms develop new products and processes so they can grow and prosper.
"High-tech industries are the future of the British economy. Growing sectors that exploit these new and emerging technologies will help re-balance the economy and provide the highly skilled, well-paid jobs we need."
The new centres, which will receive funding over the next four years, will be based on the model proposed recently by Dr Hermann Hauser, Chairman of the East of England Stem Cell Network:
"Individual TICs need to operate with a high level of autonomy, to give them the flexibility to respond to business needs and market opportunities. They need to build strong relationships with both business and academia, and with other institutions active in the technology area they operate in."
Each TIC will focus on a specific technology that has a major potential global market and a significant UK capability. Possible areas identified by Dr Hauser include regenerative medicine.
The network will be established by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), which will work with industry, universities and other stakeholders to identify the technologies the TICs will support. The TSB will decide which existing centres to invest in by April 2011, and then consider which new centres to start.
Dr Hermann Hauser