Catapults contributing to Europe 2020 report published 24.3.2015

24th March 2015

Helen Lawrence


24 March 2015


Big opportunities for UK Catapults from EU engagement


A new report published today by the Big Innovation Centre shows the huge benefits that can be achieved for the UK through the Catapult centres engaging in EU programmes.


The report was commissioned and funded by Innovate UK, and was aimed at understanding how the UK Catapults can generate value by strategically engaging in EU activities, reviewing the practices and experiences of similar technology and innovation centres in seven European countries.


The Big Innovation Centre study shows that Catapults can benefit from EU programmes in the following key ways:

  • Accessing new knowledge and capability, building strategic networks, new opportunities for market growth, alongside access to funding and infrastructure.


  • Providing unique and complementary benefits when compared to national and industry funding – EU programmes and projects are generally larger, require a wider breadth of expertise and can now, under Horizon 2020 in particular, support a wider range of technology readiness levels spanning concept to market.



Professor Birgitte Andersen, CEO and Co-creator at the Big Innovation Centre said:

"Disruptive technologies change the world, but they have always needed a complex mix of foresighted funders prepared to share the risks, the right skills, an enabling state and above all firms with imagination and sense of purpose to succeed. The UK Catapults are becoming the catalysts for creating that complex mix today. But in order to enlarge their innovative capability and deliver their mission at world class level, it is essential that they do even more, promoting access to wider strategic networks and markets. Europe is an amazing opportunity for support that can’t be missed. The goal is sustainable growth, jobs, greater social mobility, and a better quality of life for all groups within society and our cities.


"Our international evidence shows that for the UK Catapults this means managing three things: 1) strategic alignment between EU engagement, national priorities and Catapult strategy, 2) strong international partnerships of joined up expertise, and 3) the complexities of EU funding calls and application procedures."


Simon Edmonds, Director of the Catapult programme, said:

"This report clearly shows the huge benefits to be had from Catapults engaging actively with EU programmes, and the impact this can have on UK jobs and growth. Innovate UK is determined to make the most of these opportunities for UK businesses. This is why we have brought in-house the National Contact Point experts, bid for, and am pleased to say, successfully won the opportunity to deliver the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) network in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and established a permanent presence in Brussels."

For a copy of the report please see


Notes to editors

    1. Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – we’re the UK’s innovation agency, accelerating economic growth. We know that taking a new idea to market is a challenge. We fund, support and connect innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth. For further information visit our website at



    1. Catapult centres are being established and overseen by Innovate UK as a new addition to its range of programmes to stimulate innovation. They are places where the best of the UK’s innovative businesses and researchers work together to bring new products and services more quickly to commercialisation. Focusing on areas with great market potential, Catapults will open up global opportunities for the UK and generate economic growth for the future. For more information, please visit



    1. Launched in September 2011, the Big Innovation Centre is a hub of innovative companies and organisations, thought leaders and ‘what works’ open innovators. Together they enlarge their innovative capability, test and realize their commercial and public-purpose ideas in a non-competitive and neutral environment. They act as catalysts in co-shaping our innovation and business model strategies that are both practical and intellectually grounded. The vision is to make the UK a Global Open Innovation and Investment Hub by 2025, and to build similar initiatives internationally. For further details please visit




Please direct all enquiries to: James Easey

Tel: 07557 086952



For more information on the Big Innovation Centre please contact Helen Lawrence on 07745 112756