A second wave of Innovation Vouchers are being made available through the Technology Strategy Board. The extra funding is for Innovation Vouchers for businesses who want to use public open data to commercialise their ideas and develop products and prototypes.
The Innovation Vouchers scheme was launched in September providing £5,000 to businesses who wanted to develop ideas applicable to Agri-food, Built Environment and Space. As well as the additional funding for open data use, they are also being extended for businesses with innovation ideas in the areas of Energy, Water and Waste.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:
“This new wave of Innovation Vouchers will give SMEs a great opportunity to bid for funding that can make a real difference to the growth of their business ideas. They will be able to develop exciting proposals that can make use of open data, which have the potential to unlock great value and boost economic growth.
“There is also real strength across the UK knowledge base in the areas of Energy, Water and Waste. The expansion of Innovation Vouchers in these areas will provide an added boost for businesses looking for suppliers of knowledge who can help explore and develop their innovations.”
The Technology Strategy Board’s Chief Executive Iain Gray said:
“We’re delighted that as well as offering our own Technology Strategy Board Innovation Vouchers we’ve been able to use our portal as a conduit to 43 other schemes run by universities and other organisations right across the country from Aberdeen to Cornwall, in Wales and Northern Ireland. This provides vital support to businesses starting their innovation journey and making contact with a knowledge supplier for the first time.
“Innovation Vouchers offer a low risk way for small businesses to explore new ideas with a wider network of specialists – ideas that can make a real difference and help them grow.”
In September, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) committed £1 million a year for the next three years for Innovation Vouchers. That will be matched by the Technology Strategy Board, meaning there will be £2 million each year for areas including Agri-food, Built Environment, Energy, Water and Waste. The Innovation Vouchers will be allocated every three months, with 100 Vouchers across the themes each quarter. An additional £1.1 million is now available for open data over the next two years.
People will be able to apply for the Innovation Vouchers directly through the Technology Strategy Board and the Open Data Institute (ODI).
Business can use their Innovation Vouchers to work with knowledge suppliers such as:
- Universities and further education colleges
- Research and technology organisations
- Intellectual property advisers.
Examples of how Innovation Vouchers for open data business innovators and inventors could be used include:
- A small business looking to grow services and solutions using open data
- A new business looking to develop an idea into a working prototype
- Specialist consultancy on the integration of open data with other data sources to develop products and prototypes
- Intellectual Property advice in respect of ideas incorporating open data.
The additional funding for open data vouchers comes after BIS announced this week new measures to open up access to public data; including a new £7.5 million Data Strategy Board Breakthrough Fund and a new £850,000 open data Immersion Programme which will assist public organisations and companies to opening up new opportunities for data.
Notes to editors:
- Innovation Vouchers form part of the government’s Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth.
- The Technology Strategy Board have worked with the Data Strategy Board to introduce open data as a target area to use Innovation Vouchers to help companies access and use open data to aid the growth of the business. The Innovation Vouchers would be targeted at data analytics and enable businesses to gain the knowledge they need to maximise the use of freely available data.
- The additional funding for open data will see £100,000 for year one and £500,000 for years two and three.
- The latest figures from round one show that over 200 projects were successful in the draw for Innovation Vouchers for Agri-Food, Built Environment and Space.
- You can find out more information on the new open data investments announced earlier this week at http://news.bis.gov.uk/Press-Releases/New-funding-to-accelerate-benefits-of-open-data-684c1.aspx.
6. The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org.
7. The ODI is a non-profit (Limited by Guarantee), non-government, non-partisan organisation. It is receiving partial funding from the government’s Technology Strategy Board (£2m a year over 5 years). The ODI will match this with industry funding to develop approaches that release the value in open data and use it to create knowledge for everyone.
- The government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries'. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:
- To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
- To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
- To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
- To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.