Monday, August 13, 2018

News: Rotherham centres in funding boost

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The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Nuclear AMRC, which both have multimillion pound facilities in Rotherham, will together receive £127m in Government funding over the next five years to help them expand their R&D capabilities and help even more UK manufacturers to innovate and win work.

£780m has been set aside to expand successful "catapult centres" which are fuelling innovation across the country as part of the UK's ambitious, modern Industrial Strategy. The AMRC and Nuclear AMRC are both a part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult.

The AMRC, which has facilities on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham and over the Parkway on the Sheffield Business Park, focuses on advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. It is a partnership between industry and academia, which has become a model for research centres worldwide.

With state of the art facilities on the AMP in Rotherham, the Nuclear AMRC is a joint initiative with industry, The University of Sheffield and The University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute, and is designed to help build and enhance the UK's civil nuclear new build industry.

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Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean for the two centres, said: "This is a tremendous vote of confidence in the work we do with our industrial partners, and another significant boost for the Sheffield City Region and its emerging Global Innovation Corridor.

"As members of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, we are part of a larger network of research and innovation assets that are helping to solve the conundrum of the UK's productivity challenge. Our ability to draw on the research excellence of the University of Sheffield also gives us an additional edge. It means we are able to connect fundamental and basic science to translational research that makes a bigger impact on the factory floor.

"The new money will enable us to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies across advanced manufacturing, in line with the Industrial Strategy and Juergen Maier's Made Smarter Review. It shows joined up thinking at the heart of government and a determination to rebalance the economy with advanced manufacturing at its heart, supported by some of the best researchers in the world: here in the Sheffield City Region."

£81m of funding over five years is heading to the AMRC, which since its launch in Rotherham in 2001, has expanded to include three research facilities at the AMP and Sheffield Business Park, and is now establishing new regional facilities in the North West and Wales.

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The Nuclear AMRC, which was established in 2009, will receive around £46m funding over the next five years. The funding will allow the centre to expand its services to UK manufacturers, and develop new capabilities at its research factory in Rotherham, as well as its specialist R&D facilities in Birkenhead and Derby.

Andrew Storer, chief executive officer of the Nuclear AMRC, said: "Our Catapult funding gives us a secure base to expand our services to UK manufacturers, and work with even more companies to help them innovate and compete. We are set to play a key role in delivering the nuclear sector deal agreed by government and industry earlier this summer, and are investing in our facilities in Rotherham, Birkenhead and Derby to help UK manufacturers win work in the nuclear supply chain at home and worldwide."

Under the Catapult funding model, each centre will match its core funding with commercial investment from companies which work with the centres to develop innovative technologies and improve their competitiveness, and from externally-funded collaborative R&D projects. The centres attract paid industry members at different tiers, keen to make use of the world-class machines and facilities.
Allan Cook, chair of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, said: "Innovation is a risky business. By removing risk and providing access to expertise and the tools of innovation, the HVM Catapult plays a key role in boosting the performance of manufacturers across the UK. The funding announced by Government means we can build our capability to help firms of all sizes harness the potential of new technologies to improve their productivity, increase their competitiveness and secure new customers around the world."

Dick Elsy, CEO of the HVM Catapult, added: "The HVM Catapult is perfectly placed to make a full contribution to a successful UK industrial strategy. In our first 6 years of operation we have established a proven track record, generating investment in R&D and driving improvements in manufacturing productivity and competitiveness. The five-year funding package announced today allows us to build on our early successes, broadening our productivity impacts while equipping British firms with the manufacturing innovation they need to compete in uncertain and challenging international markets. Our support has never been more needed."

AMRC website
Nuclear AMRC website

Images: AMRC

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