Wednesday, April 7, 2010

News: AMRC a model for a new generation of innovation centres


A report commissioned by business secretary Lord Mandelson has highlighted the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Rotherham as a model for a new generation of industry-focused research centres.

Technology entrepreneur Hermann Hauser was commissioned to conduct a review into how the UK could learn from other countries' innovation networks and highlighted the AMRC's business model as a leading example of how research centres can make a long-term impact to the economy.

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, is a £100m partnership that has successfully bridged the gap between academia, industry and government.

The AMRC identifies, researches and solves advanced manufacturing problems and has over 80 highly qualified researchers and engineers from around the globe. Research is carried out on new and exotic materials such as titanium, inconel and composites.

The AMRC secures funding from a range of organisations; through winning competitive calls for research from the Technology Strategy Board and Research Councils; research projects commissioned by business; and through Tier 1 and Tier 2 sponsors.

The Hauser report highlighted that this balance between securing private sector and public sector funding offers a more sustainable business model.

The government has committed support for the development of a network of technology and innovation centres that will help deliver the industries and jobs of the future.

Lord Mandelson said: "I am now determined that the UK builds a capability for the long term, through a more strategic and sustained approach to investing in these centres.

"Hauser is right that these centres need long term, predictable funding and I am committed to making that happen. I want to understand the UK's strengths, weaknesses and where there are gaps we need to invest in."

Wendy Piatt, director general of The Russell Group which represents the 20 leading UK research universities, said: "There are already many successful examples of universities and businesses working in close partnership to generate exciting new technologies with enormous economic potential.

"For example, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at University of Sheffield is a world-class facility where academics are working alongside business partners from the aerospace and nuclear industries to develop technology-driven solutions for UK manufacturing.

"The new centres should build on this kind of existing capacity and decisions for the location of these centres should be based on proven academic expertise and industrial capability."

AMRC website


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