LONDON, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Britain's world-leading researchers and entrepreneurs were given a billion-dollar boost Friday by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.
Hammond announced an additional 780 million pounds (nearly 1 billion U.S. dollars) to create the technologies of tomorrow. It builds on 180 million pounds already announced by the government.
Hammond is expanding successful "catapult centers" which are fuelling innovation across the country as part of Britain's ambitious, modern Industrial Strategy.
"This new funding backs Britain's brightest talent, supporting work in high-tech labs, cutting-edge factories and advanced training centers," said a spokesperson from HM Treasury.
Innovations and inventions already benefiting from investment include a portable pollution sensor that parents can attach to a child's buggy, cellular therapies to fight cancer and improve recovery of stroke victims, LED treatment for blindness, and more-efficient wings for aeroplanes.
Hammond made the announcement during a visit to the West Midlands region of England on the day GDP figures showed the UK economy has grown by 0.4 percent.
Hammond said: "We are working hard to build a stronger, fairer economy. Unemployment is at its lowest since the 1970s, our national debt is starting to fall, and the economy has grown every year since 2010."
"It is by backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs that we will continue this progress and build an economy fit for the future. Today's 780 million pound investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need."
Ian Campbell, Interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, said: "Today's significant announcement means our world-class network of catapults can build on their success and continue helping thousands of businesses across the UK to undertake innovative R&D."
"This long-term investment will mean the catapults can help deliver the Grand Challenges of the Industrial Strategy in their sectors and help the UK achieve its ambition to raise investment in R&D to 2.4 percent of GDP by 2027."
In their first five years, the catapults have supported around 3,000 small businesses to develop and exploit new technologies. They operate world-class facilities and are also training hundreds of apprentices and doctoral students.