Five-year funding confirmed for University's High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres

Ongoing funding has been confirmed for the University of Sheffield's two High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres.

CatapultThe University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Nuclear AMRC will together receive £127 million government funding over the next five years to help them expand their research and development capabilities and help even more UK 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.

"As members of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, we are part of a larger network of research and innovation assets that are helping to solve the conundrum of the UK's productivity challenge. 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 £81 million 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 £46 million funding.

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.

Professor Keith Ridgway

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.

The HVM Catapult includes seven specialised R&D centres across the UK, and aims to improve the UK's performance in translating the strengths of its world leading research base into the goods and processes which equip the UK's high value manufacturers for success in challenging global markets.

Dick Elsy, chief executive officer of the HVM Catapult, said: "The HVM Catapult is perfectly placed to make a full contribution to a successful UK industrial strategy. In our first six years of operation we have established a proven track record, generating investment in R&D and driving improvements in manufacturing productivity and competitiveness. The five-year funding package announced today allows us to build on our early successes, broadening our productivity impacts while equipping British firms with the manufacturing innovation they need to compete in uncertain and challenging international markets. Our support has never been more needed."

The funding is part of a £780 million investment across the Catapult network of technology and innovation centres. The funding was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, during a visit to another of the centres within the HVM Catapult.

"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," Hammond said. "Today’s £780 million investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need."

The £780 million investment also includes funding for Catapults focusing on technology areas including Energy Systems, Offshore Renewable Energy, Cell & Gene Therapy, Satellite Applications, and Compound Semiconductors.

Additional information

About the AMRC with Boeing

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing is a world-class centre for research into advanced manufacturing technologies used in the aerospace, automotive, medical and other high-value manufacturing sectors.

The AMRC has a global reputation for helping companies overcome manufacturing problems and is a model for collaborative research involving universities, academics and industry worldwide.

Combining state of the art technologies with the AMRC’s expertise in design and prototyping, machining, casting, welding, additive manufacturing, composites and structural testing, has created a manufacturing resource far beyond anything previously available in the UK.

The AMRC is a member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a consortium of leading manufacturing and process research centres, backed by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

About the Nuclear AMRC

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre helps UK manufacturers win work in the nuclear sector – in civil new build, operations and decommissioning, and in naval power.

The Nuclear AMRC combines academic innovation with industry expertise to help UK manufacturers improve capabilities and performance along the supply chain. Its facilities and services are open to all.

The centre's engineers and sector specialists work with companies to develop innovative techniques and optimised processes for large-scale high-precision manufacturing. Companies can draw on the centre's facilities and capabilities to develop and test new processes on production-scale machines without losing capacity in their own factories.

The centre's research factory, on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire, is home to over £35 million worth of state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, many of which are the largest or most advanced available for industrial R&D anywhere in the world. In 2017, the Nuclear AMRC opened a new R&D facility in Birkenhead to focus on modular manufacturing techniques.

The Nuclear AMRC also provides a range of supply chain development services to help manufacturers enter the nuclear supply chain and compete worldwide. The flagship Fit For Nuclear programme lets companies measure their operations against the standards required to supply the nuclear industry, and take the necessary steps to close any gaps.

The Nuclear AMRC is backed by industry leaders and government, and managed by the University of Sheffield. It is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a national alliance of seven leading manufacturing research centres funded by Innovate UK.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 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 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six 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.

Contact

For further information please contact:

Hannah Postles
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046
h.postles@sheffield.ac.uk