Pioneering manufacturing research centre hosts royal technology incubator

The Duke of York has praised the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing and its award winning, state of the art reconfigurable digital factory, Factory 2050.


Prince Andrew told guests attending a round of Pitch@Palace, his prestigious technology contest, in Factory 2050: “I have watched this incredible institution grow over the years and to be able to see this wonderful new building being filled with some really clever advanced manufacturing is fantastic.”

Prince Andrew was welcomed to the facility by University of Sheffield Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof Shearer West and AMRC co-founder Prof Keith Ridgway, CBE.

Around 25 hi-tech businesses pitched their innovative ideas to the Prince, local dignitaries and leading business people and a judging panel including Prof Ridgway.

Prof Ridgway said: “It is a great honour to have one of the AMRC’s facilities selected to host this prestigious event.

“We created Factory 2050 to be the home of cutting edge research and innovation involving technologies that will underpin the future success of UK manufacturing and to inspire the next generation of engineering leaders.

“That made it an ideal location for a new generation of entrepreneurs to explain and seek backing for their ground-breaking ideas and, hopefully, seeing what is already being achieved at Factory 2050 will inspire them to achieve yet greater things.”

Pitch@Palace was set up by The Duke of York’s Charitable Trust to support start-up businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK.

It gives potential entrepreneurs the chance to explain their hi-tech business ideas to Prince Andrew and a panel of experts, in front of an audience of investors, business leaders and mentors, in a bid to secure the backing they need to take them to the next level.

More than 200 businesses have been helped to grow since Pitch@Palace was launched, less than three years ago, with some now enjoying huge global success.

Each Pitch@Palace focuses on different areas of the UK Tech industry, with budding entrepreneurs attending a special boot camp to help them prepare.

Most events are held at St James's Palace, the sovereign’s official residence and the most senior royal palace in the United Kingdom.

The Factory 2050 event was a special Pitch@Palace On Tour event, aimed at the UK regions.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:
Clare Parkin
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9851