CBI demands innovation cash as government plans laser push

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The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for the government to allocate more funding for the UK government's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), to support growth in the UK.

The TSB is considering a call for feasibility studies to support laser applications and processes in areas that are currently little used by UK industry, but which show potential for exploitation. The CBI wants the government to support the TSB with continued or extra funding and the business group stated that the organisation has been, 'underfunded to date and is crucial to successfully protect innovation in the UK.'

The CBI announcement was welcomed by the TSB, which uses its Small Business Research Innovation programme to help emerging companies. In support of the laser initiative, the Electronics, Sensors and Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network, working with AILU, has put together a questionnaire for industry that seeks to establish the likely sectors, processes and materials that would benefit most from a photonics call.

David Bott, director of innovation programmes at TSB, said: 'The CBI is a well respected organisation that is the voice of business in the UK – our key audience – and we welcome their announcement today. What this statement really highlights is that the TSB has an essential role to play as one of the crucial tools protecting the mechanics of innovation in the UK.'