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New investment creates UK cities and transport powerhouse

The integrated organisation seeks to drive even faster growth for the UK economy by exploiting previous strong synergies

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Two UK innovation bodies are uniting to tackle the problems of city living and mobility
Two UK innovation bodies are uniting to tackle the problems of city living and mobility

The UK government has vowed to further back Future Cities and Transport Systems Catapult innovation centres as part of its modern Industrial Strategy.

 

The latest investment forms part of the £215m committed by the UK Government to the Digital, Medicines Discovery, Future Cities Catapult and Transport Systems Catapult centres which means each will be fully funded for the next five years.

 

The latest announcement builds on a pledge made in August by Philip Hammond, chancellor of the exchequer, of nearly £1bn for the Catapult network.

 

New organisation created

 

Under the latest declaration, Future Cities Catapult and Transport Systems Catapult will unite to create a new organisation that aims to bring together their skills and expertise to tackle the problems of modern city living and address the future of mobility.

 

The new integrated organisation seeks to drive even faster growth for the UK economy by exploiting the previous strong synergies.

 

“It’s a time of true opportunity for innovators in both areas of Transport- and Future Cities,” said Nicola Yates, chief executive of Future Cities Catapult.

 

“Our unified Catapult will strengthen the Catapult network enabling these opportunities at the critical interface between urban infrastructure, transport and the urban systems and services that impact upon population health, wellbeing – and the economy of the whole country.”

 

According to Catapult, the UK’s urban areas are home to more than four fifths of the population (83 per cent). The world of transport will transform dramatically over the coming decade as new technology, such as decarbonised power sources, mobile communications, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data radically transform the way that transport outcomes can be delivered.

"It’s a time of true opportunity for innovators in both areas of Transport- and Future Cities"

The success of these so-called “engines of economic growth and prosperity” relies on their ongoing good management – including their ability to adapt swiftly to growth and the changing demands of their citizens and businesses.

 

World-leading research expertise

 

Catapult claims the new organisation will better help businesses access the UK’s world-leading research expertise, enabling them to grow faster and generate more jobs. And will accelerate the opportunity for UK business to be at the forefront of urban and transport innovation.

 

The boards of the existing Catapults will form a single board to drive the enhanced organisation forward. This transition board will be chaired by Terry Hill, current chair of the Transport Systems Catapult, following Keith Clarke, chair of Future Cities Catapult, who is stepping down as chair. He will continue in the role of vice chair during the transition period.

 

“We’re backing experts to push new boundaries, so our future economy reaps the benefits of new technologies with more highly skilled jobs. Investment in research and development is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy as we build on the UK’s reputation for scientific innovation,” added Kit Malthouse, minister of state for housing.

 

“I look forward to working with the experts at the newly combined Future Cities and Transport Systems Catapults as they help us make the housing market work and supply communities with more, better, faster homes.”

 

The new Catapult formation is expected to be completed by April 2019 and will continue to operate from its two existing centres in Milton Keynes and London; new locations are also planned for Glasgow and Leeds.

 

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