Sheffield´s AMRC takes lead role in first Technology Innovation Centre

University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boein

University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing.

Sheffield´s AMRC takes lead role in first Technology Innovation Centre

The first of the UK´s new network of Technology Innovation Centres has been launched today (17 March 2011) at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing.

The AMRC with Boeing, and its new sister facility the Nuclear AMRC, are part of a consortium of seven research centres appointed to run the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) for High Value Manufacturing.

Business Secretary Vince Cable MP and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP announced details of the new centre before visiting the AMRC in Rotherham. The AMRC was identified as a role model for the TIC programme by Prime Minister David Cameron, as he launched the programme in October 2010.

Vince Cable MP said: "The Technology Innovation Centre will help to equip UK industry with the ability to capitalise on the future global market opportunities by drawing on leading edge research and will form a key part of the Government's work to rebalance the UK economy and create new high-value private sector jobs.

"The investment in the new centre will further bridge the gap between universities and businesses, helping to commercialise the outputs of Britain's world-class research base."

The AMRC and Nuclear AMRC will jointly operate the High Value Manufacturing TIC as part of a consortium of seven established manufacturing and process research centres.

The other centres in the consortium are:
• Advanced Forming Research Centre, Glasgow
• Centre for Process Innovation, Teesside
• Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry
• National Composites Centre, Bristol
• Warwick Manufacturing Group

The TIC funding, worth 30 million pa over 10 years, allows the seven centres to build on their established success and expertise, and to create a national network capable of addressing all manufacturing issues.

The bulk of the new money will be invested in new facilities, to expand current operations in response to industry needs and create research programmes in new technology areas.

Over 10 years, the centre is expected to lead to some 2 billion of additional manufacturing R&D in the UK, and the creation of 3000 new research engineer jobs across the seven centres.

Professor Keith Ridgway OBE, Research Director at the AMRC with Boeing and Programme Director at the Nuclear AMRC, said: "We are delighted that the Government is backing high value manufacturing.

"The Government recognises that we are a manufacturing nation, and supporting the kind of collaborative research pioneered at the AMRC is a proven way of making sure that our manufacturers are at the cutting edge of innovation."

Research areas
The High Value Manufacturing TIC will be a national focus for advanced manufacturing research and development, with the scale and readiness to make an early and significant contribution to UK economic growth.

The consortium members are based at eight of the UK's leading universities for engineering and physical sciences. The individual centres are already established as global centres of excellence in a wide range of manufacturing processes, including: machining, forging, composites, high-integrity joining, intelligent automation, assembly, and chemicals processing.

These processes are used in a variety of high-value industries, including: aerospace, automotive, low-carbon energy, oil and gas, biotechnology, and electronics.

The TIC will be particularly well placed to serve the needs of the sectors that are forecast to grow significantly over the next decade. These include:
• High-performance batteries for electric vehicles
• Off-shore wind turbines
• New nuclear power plant
• New generation of fuel-efficient passenger aircraft

The TIC status will help the individual centres to work closely together to bring their skills and resources to bear on these complex industrial challenges.

Economic benefits
The new TICs are intended to bridge the gap between innovation and commercial success. Universities and industry will work together to develop new technologies and practical knowledge, and put them to work within British companies to help them compete worldwide.

The value of collaborative research is increasingly recognised by industry. The consortium's bid for the High Value Manufacturing TIC was endorsed by over 50 major industrial manufacturers and 54 SMEs.

The geographic spread of centres, from Bristol to Glasgow, will help the TIC support businesses nationwide. This will be particularly value for SMEs and lower-level skills development. The TIC will develop programmes tailored to the needs of SMEs to help them access cutting-edge technologies and increase their capabilities and competitiveness.

The TIC status will also help attract inward investment into high-value manufacturing clusters around each centre. The AMRC and Nuclear AMRC are both based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire, a dedicated hub for high-value industry.

The TIC will help support sustainable growth and the move to a low-carbon economy by both reducing the use of material and energy during production; and enabling the development of low-carbon and fuel-efficient transport and energy generation technologies.

The Government has committed to invest over 200 million over the next four years in a network of around six TICs focusing on different areas of technology. The first phase of the TIC programme includes investment in existing centres, but later phases will focus on establishing new centres.

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