Devolution deal for advanced manufacturing and innovation announced at our AMRC

The Chancellor George Osborne has announced a historic devolution deal which puts advanced manufacturing and innovation at its heart during a visit to our University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC) today (2 October 2015).


The Chancellor chose to make the important announcement for the Sheffield City Region at our University’s world-leading AMRC, which is driving economic growth from the region to bolster UK manufacturing and cement its place as a key player on the global stage.

In his speech, Mr Osborne announced an agreement to support the development of the UK’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) – a nucleus of innovation, research and technology, designed for collaboration and rapid commercialisation.

The AMID will be a catalyst for innovation-led manufacturing across the Sheffield City Region and Northern Powerhouse, creating a place where world-leading companies come for research and technology transfer as well as attracting new international investors and generating a research and development revolution in the existing manufacturing base.

The devolution deal will see the government offer the Sheffield City Region expert advice and support to ensure it is able to put forward a City Region-led proposal to undertake a Science and Innovation audit.

The Chancellor hailed the “incredible” AMRC for symbolising the economic potential of the North and said: “Sheffield is forging ahead in the Northern Powerhouse, which this historic deal proves is taking shape.

“I want to thank the civic leaders of South Yorkshire who have worked with me to embrace this opportunity.

“It has the power to change the shape of local government in the region in a way that would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago.

“For local people, it will mean the decisions that affect them being taken locally.

“Manchester is not a one-off – far from it. In becoming the second great northern city to sign up to managing its own affairs with this ambitious agreement, Sheffield City Region is playing a vital part in helping to build the Northern Powerhouse.”

The announcement, made by Mr Osborne just 48 hours before the Conservatives begin their annual conference in Manchester, recognised the advanced manufacturing expertise in the Sheffield City Region and promised support for the future of the UK’s advanced manufacturing and nuclear manufacturing industry.

He also promised to capitalise on the world class expertise at the University’s AMRC and Nuclear AMRC to create a model for UK advanced manufacturing.
The deal, which was signed by local authority leaders, including Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton and Councillor Julie Dore, will also support the Sheffield City Region’s economic plan to increase productivity, with an immediate target to narrow the productivity gap by £3 billion by 2025.

Our Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett said: “I am delighted that the Sheffield City Region has made this important devolution deal with government which has advanced manufacturing and innovation at its heart, as part of the wider Northern Powerhouse.

“The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District and the University’s state-of-the-art facilities there will play a central role in this, bringing benefits to jobs and the economy of the north and the UK as a whole."

He added: "A plan for growth which brings together industry and research to make world leading products in the UK is exactly what we need to thrive. The University of Sheffield's AMRC is already delivering great results for the UK businesses which work with international leaders in state of the art facilities, and we are working with them to provide the very highest quality advanced apprentices.

"But our vision is of something even bigger which will drive productivity and innovation across the UK, making this region the global first choice for advanced manufacturing - a Northern Powerhouse, which will boost global exports and supercharge productivity in the UK.”

The Chancellor was welcomed by Professor Keith Ridgway who founded the award-winning AMRC with local industrialist Adrian Allen.

Professor Ridgway, Executive Dean of the AMRC, said: “We are honoured that the Chancellor and his Treasury team chose the AMRC, at the heart of the Region’s embryonic Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, as the place to sign this historic accord.

“The AMRC has been the site for a number of ground breaking developments which have made a huge difference to British manufacturers’ performance, competitiveness and their ability to maintain manufacturing capability in the UK.

“Now, it has been the location for a ground breaking deal that could not only give a tremendous economic boost to this region, but could also confirm its future as the place where Britain’s manufacturing future is forged.”