Tuesday, January 24, 2017

News: Funding boost for Innovation District

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The emerging Sheffield-Rotherham Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) has secured further funding from the Government - with more to come.

The Sheffield city region (SCR) has secured £37m in the latest round of the Government's Growth Deal programme.

The Local Growth Fund money is set to be used to support for SCR's Integrated Infrastructure Plan, opening up new employment sites and delivering new homes, with particular priority given to developing the AMID and securing growth at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Funding is also set to support a new programme to give targeted skills support aimed at securing greater learning outcomes amongst particular groups of disadvantaged learners.

The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was hoping to secure much more funding from the latest round of the Government's £1.8 billion Local Growth Fund. It asked for £107m to be invested in local infrastructure in the priority areas of the AMID and Doncaster Sheffield Airport. The full investment would have unlocked 12,500 jobs, 6,600 home, £220n of private sector investment and an economic boost of £2.7 billion.

Recognising that high value manufacturing can be key to driving innovation, productivity and exports, civic leaders have committed to the idea of "supercharging" the areas of advanced manufacturing in the Sheffield-Rotherham Economic Corridor. Based around the expanding Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham and surrounding Enterprise Zone, the aim is to develop Europe's largest research-led advanced manufacturing cluster.

A masterplan for the potential Innovation District is being produced that will be used as a bidding document for accessing monies through the Government's Growth Deal and other funding sources. In the previous devolution proposals, the leaders asked for a £250m commitment to the Sheffield City Region, based around the Innovation District as a national demonstrator for place based innovation programmes with LEPs. It added that "Government investment will be matched by company investment at 50% and further leveraged through local resources to deliver a £600m science and innovation programme over five years."

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Sir Nigel Knowles, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "Our strong public-private partnership and our proven track record of delivery for the residents and businesses of the Sheffield City Region has helped secure these additional local growth fund resources. We now have an investment programme totalling over half a billion pounds that we're investing in priorities such as building an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, growing Doncaster-Sheffield Airport and creating a super-connected city region at the heart of the national economy."

In the Government's Autumn Statement it is was announced that £1.4m had been secured by the SCR to develop plans to provide high quality access to AMID, supporting and enabling growth.

Solutions are being explored to improve capacity at Junctions 33 and 34 of the M1. Multimillion pound work has already taken place to widen exit slip roads and roundabouts at J33 and Rotherham's capital strategy includes a £45m plan to widen the Parkway to three lanes between the M1 and Catcliffe.

Cllr. Denise Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy at Rotherham Council, said: "The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District is ideally situated in the heart of the UK and we are very proud to see it fast becoming the UK centre of excellence for research, manufacturing and technology. This funding will allow us to investigate and put a good case forward for an improved infrastructure to support this expanding area, leading to faster journeys and encouraging further future growth in the district."

In addition, a £40m property fund is expected to support commercial development in the AMID and over £20m of funding is being finalised for the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre's (AMRC's) new Lightweighting Centre over the Parkway on the Sheffield Business Park.

Images: Nuclear AMRC


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