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Government funds manufacturing research in drive for future growth

Posted on 11 October 2011

£170 million package to sharpen UK’s competitive edge
Next phase in campaign to promote careers in industry
A high value manufacturing technology and innovation centre will receive over £140 million over a six year period and is open for business.

The centre is formed from seven research and technology facilities from across the country. It will help to kick-start a sustained manufacturing revival by commercialising science – taking ideas from the drawing board to help make them into real products.

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will run a competition of nearly £18 million, Technology Inspired Innovation, to fund products inspired by new discoveries and breakthroughs, such as advanced materials, biosciences and nanoscale technologies.

The TSB and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) will also be running a £15 million competition for investment into the research and development of low carbon vehicles.

To ensure manufacturers have access to the skills they need to remain at the forefront of advanced manufacturing, the Government has launched the new initiative: See Inside Manufacturing. This is being piloted by businesses in the automotive sector. Between 10-21 October around 100 events are being held across the UK. Companies in the sector are opening their doors to students and young people to help change the perception of careers in the sector and to attract the next generation of engineers and technicians. To kick-off the latest stage of the campaign, Vince Cable visited the Vauxhall plant in Luton.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Manufacturing has a key role to play in economic growth and rebalancing the economy, in particular driving exports and productivity.

"The Government is supporting manufacturing through a modern industrial strategy fit for the 21st century. We are assisting manufacturing companies and their supply chains directly through the Regional Growth Fund and other schemes and supporting them to build strong businesses via our commitments to apprenticeships and fostering technology.

"We are also challenging the perceptions of what it is like to work in manufacturing and seeking to raise the status and profile of engineering.

"But we know there is always more to do. We will set out further proposals to support manufacturing over the next few weeks."

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said:

“Manufacturing is a priority sector for the Technology Strategy Board to support with a technology and innovation centre. The UK has some of the world’s best manufacturing businesses and the industry accounts for 12 per cent of GDP, around half of exports and in 2010 employed 2.5 million people in the UK. The new centre will help UK businesses stay at the leading edge of manufacturing technology and create and protect jobs long into the future”.

The High Value Manufacturing technology and innovation centre is formed from seven regional facilities across the country. These are:

· Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Rotherham, part of the University of Sheffield)

· Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Rotherham)

· Manufacturing Technology Centre (Coventry)

· Advanced Forming Research Centre (University of Strathclyde)

· National Composite Centre (University of Bristol)

· Centre for Process Innovation (Wilton & Sedgefield)

· Warwick Manufacturing Group (University of Warwick).

They will support research and development in areas such as the re-emerging nuclear industry, precision aircraft component manufacture and biochemical processes from sustainable feedstocks.