Government outlines £200 million tech centre plans


The Government has laid out its proposals for a 200 million network of technology and innovation centres.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced the funding in October last year but now things are moving ahead as a prospectus published today outlines plans to set up a total of six to eight centres.

Organisations have also been invited to register interest in creating the first centre, which will focus on high-value manufacturing.

The prospectus includes plans to fast track the establishment of this initial centre.

The entire network of centres will be overseen by the Technology Strategy Board and their research will be brought to the commercial sphere with the help of universities and businesses.

The ICT and electronics sector has been included as one of five areas being considered for initial investment, alongside energy and resource efficiency, transport systems, healthcare, as well as photonics and electrical systems.

"The banking crisis made one thing completely clear: Britain needs a new kind of growth," said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

"We should be at the cutting edge of science, manufacturing and technology The programme for technology and innovation centres is a key part of our strategy to rebalance the economy."

Tim Bradshaw, head of at the CBI, told IT PRO that whilst his organisation supports the centres, the 200 million investment "is not actually that much."

"You can't have 50 centres, you can only really have that amount of money and maybe support five, eight or 10 maximum and actually do anything credible," Bradshaw said.

He said it "was absolutely right" ICT was one of the areas under consideration and outlined what the CBI believes the centres need to do in order to succeed.

"They've got to meet business demand, they've got to be business led, they've got to actually support a critical mass of activity, they've got to focus on building industrial capability, they've got to have long-term core funding, they've got to be coordinated," Bradshaw added.

It was a busy year for the Government in terms of technology. Read on for our look back at public sector IT in 2010.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.