Catapult centres are a network of world-leading centres designed to transform high potential ideas into new products and services to generate economic growth.
The Catapult's are a network of world-leading centres designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific technology areas and help drive future economic growth.
Catapults are not-for-profit, independent physical centres which connect businesses with the UK’s research and academic communities.
Each Catapult centre specialises in a different area of technology, with all the centres offering open access state-of-the-art facilities and expertise to enable businesses and researchers to collaboratively solve key problems and develop new products and services on a commercial scale.
Catapult centres are there for all businesses – large and small – looking to undertake late stage research and development and commercialise their product or process.
The Catapult vision is to support these organisations to reduce the risk of innovation, accelerate the pace of business development, develop the UK's skills and knowledge base and create sustainable jobs and growth.
Establishing and maintaining a network of centres with world-leading technical capabilities requires a sustained investment from both public and private sector.
The main stakeholders involved in the Centres predominantly include Government bodies, Academia and Industry. Working collaboratively with stakeholders is a key element for working with businesses to take innovative ideas from concept to reality.

Resources needed

The centres gain their funds from a mix of competitively earned commercial funding, collaborative research and development funds and core Innovate UK investment. This can be expressed in simplified terms as following the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 model. A new Catapult typically receives £10m per year.

Evidence of success

Given the relative short length of time the Catapult Network has been established, evidence is still being generated on the success of the network, however an independent report by EY has suggested the longer-established Catapults have been successful in forming relationships with academia, SMEs, Government and industry and generating commercial and CR&D funding streams. In addition facilities and cutting edge technology have been successfully developed and deployed in the innovation network.

Difficulties encountered

The challenge often faced by Catapults is in regards to the process of Innovation being complex and multi-faceted with no one size fitting all businesses. As a result helping businesses requires dedicated sustained resources (facilities and expertise) and continued investment by all parties.

Potential for learning or transfer

Catapult centres can play a vital role in the development, acceleration and advancement of an organisation’s product or process.
By providing open access facilities which can be accessed by SMEs, Large Organisations and Academia it can reduce the need for businesses to spend vital funds on capital investments before the proof of concept can be proved, which in turn can minimise risk and accelerate the timelines to commercialisation. In addition specialist expertise can be sourced to work on specific areas of a process, product or challenge which needs to be overcome.
Having this infrastructure in place also provides organisations with a go-to place for technological and business support, particularly within the SME community and enables organisations to source relevant sector, market or technology expertise as and when required.
Main institution
Centre for Process Innovation
Tees Valley and Durham, United Kingdom
Start Date
January 2011
End Date


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