Chief Executive's Statement

Chief Executive's Statement

This was not the report that I was expecting to write as my final covering note to our annual review before my retirement in August 2020. The whole world has changed, and my retirement was postponed to focus on the task in hand.

 

Times of crisis tend bring out the best in people and organisations and I am immensely proud of the tireless commitment of our Centres in stepping up to help. We have some fine examples of the way in which they have helped included in this review. They range from our involvement in the Vaccines Task Force to the engineering and production of protective screens to be used to protect clinical staff in an intensive care environment. There was also my personal involvement in the UK Ventilator Challenge.

 

When faced with the crisis of insufficient ventilators to meet the forecast peak demand driven by COVID-19, the UK government put out a call to arms to manufacturers to repurpose production lines to build ventilators.  The HVM Catapult responded immediately. As the natural go-to place to build collaborations and provide overall leadership, we formed a national consortium of some of the biggest UK industrial companies to rise to the challenge. Our Centres also stepped up with engineering resources, factory space and the know-how to deliver complex remote training tools using virtual and augmented reality.
 
The results from the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium have been extraordinary and show the convening capability of the HVM Catapult and the deep trust placed in it to organise the deliver a programme of true national scale in a breathtakingly short timeframe. It has shown British industry and the HVM Catapult at its best.
 

COVID-19 has not been the only challenge we have faced this year. The first three quarters of the year were dominated with the uncertainty around international trade which had a clear impact on our business and that of our client companies, battling with uncertainty and investment risks. This led to the softening of some of our markets which propelled our Centres to work hard to diversify their sector and technology portfolios and which has resulted in greater financial and operational resilience.
 
This resilience has led to a remarkably good set of financial and operational results for the year. The HVM Catapult has continued on its double-digit growth trajectory which has resulted in us becoming the most significant advanced manufacturing research body in Europe.
 
We are determined to use this position to help industry to get back on its feet after the COVID-19 crisis and, importantly, keep the torch lit for innovation. This will be crucial to our competitiveness as all nations fight to return to a new normal. We will also use this opportunity to show leadership in driving progress towards achieving net zero by 2050. I know that the manufacturing community can deliver for the planet in a similar way it delivered for the country in its time of need.

 

“With leadership and investment, the country can emerge from the pandemic in a strong global position.”

 

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