Government slings £127m into Yorkshire manufacturing catapult

By Made in Yorkshire News
schedule12th Aug 18

Research and development initiatives in Yorkshire have been handed a £127m boost from the government.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced new funding that will see the expansion of successful catapult centres around the UK that are helping to fuel innovation across a variety of sectors. The move is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Across Yorkshire and The Humber, £126.7m is being allocated for the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham and Sheffield, and sharing in the funding will be the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, also in Rotherham.

The AMRC and NAMRC are both part of the High Value Manufacturing Centre.

The funding is being allocated over the next five years with the aim of helping both centres expand their R&D capabilities and help manufacturers to innovate and win work.

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.

“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."

The AMRC specialises in carrying out world-leading research into advanced machining, manufacturing and materials, which is of practical use to industry. Since its launch in 2001, it has expanded to include three research facilities at the Advanced Manufacturing Park and Sheffield Business Park, and is now establishing new regional facilities in the North West and Wales. It will receive around £81m funding over five years.

The Nuclear AMRC was established in 2009 to take the same collaborative model into the demanding nuclear industry. As well as its research factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, it is developing new specialist R&D facilities in Birkenhead and Derby, and preparing to play a key role in delivering the recently-announced nuclear sector deal. It will receive around £46m funding.

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.

Mr Hammond said: “We are working hard to build a stronger, fairer economy – dealing with the deficit, helping people into work, and cutting taxes for individuals and businesses. 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.”

The funding is part of a £780m investment across the UK Catapult network of technology and innovation centres.