£70 million boost for UK manufacturing

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The first three state of the art manufacturing research centres funded under a new £70M Government investment will be based at Southampton, Loughborough and Brunel universities, to help UK businesses develop the technology products of the future and underpin manufacturing growth, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced today.

The three new Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) centres will focus research efforts in the fields of:

  • Photonics (the science and application of light using optical fibres to revolutionise the internet and telecommunications) at Southampton;
  • Regenerative Medicine (therapies to enable damaged, diseased or defective tissues to work normally again) at Loughborough; and
  • Liquid Metals (developing innovative technologies for the reuse and recycling of metal) at Brunel.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:

“A highly skilled, innovative manufacturing sector is vital to Britain’s future economic growth. This £70M of Government funding will see universities and businesses working together to commercialise academic research. Southampton University has turned academic research into products that are used to navigate airliners, power the internet and manufacture your iPhone. With more investment to bring these two sectors together we can strengthen our future innovation and growth.”

Professor David Delpy, Chief Executive of EPSRC, the UK’s largest government funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research and postgraduate skills, said:

“EPSRC’s new manufacturing centres will focus on areas of pioneering research that has the potential to create new industries and new jobs for the UK.
 
 “They will save lives through advances in regenerative medicine, develop recycled forms of metal which are environmentally friendly, and harness light to revolutionise the internet and telecommunications.

“UK research in photonics has changed all our lives, allowing us to navigate airliners, power the internet, manufacture your iPhone, sculpt medical devices, and keep us safe from attack.”

These three new centres are the first in a £70M investment EPSRC will make in this area over the next year, also attracting industry partners and investment. They centres will be based at the universities of Southampton, Loughborough and Brunel and will each focus on a key growth sector:

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics

University of Southampton

  • This centre will work with industry to develop the next generation of optical fibre materials and technology platforms, train a new generation of engineers and fuel growth in photonics-related manufacturing.
  • Investment from EPSRC will total £4.7 million over a five year period starting in March and 13 industrial partners will contribute a further £4.6 million.

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine

Loughborough University

  • This centre will carry out world-leading research, test and implement ideas in clinical and industrial settings, create next generation platforms for manufacturing regenerative medicines and inform business models, policy and public debate.
  • Investment from EPSRC will total £5.3M over a five year period starting in September and 28 industrial and government partners will contribute a further £3M.
  • Partner universities are Nottingham and Keele.

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Liquid Metal Engineering

Brunel University (London)

  • This centre will work with industrial partners to develop innovative technologies for the reuse and recycling of metal. This will lead to substantial conservation of natural resources, reduction in energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
  • Investment from EPSRC will total £4.5M over a five year period starting in February and 15 industrial partners will contribute a further £4.6M.
  • Partner universities are Oxford and Birmingham

For more information:

Notes to Editors

  1. EPSRC has a strong tradition in investing in manufacturing research and has invested £120M over the past ten years in 15 Innovative Manufacturing Research Centres which cover the breadth of UK manufacturing ranging from construction to healthcare technologies to innovation studies.

About EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing

  1. The new EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing are part of a totally new approach to maximise the impact of innovative research for the UK, supporting existing industries, and more importantly, opening up new industries and markets in growth areas.
  2. Each centre will receive five years funding to retain staff, develop collaborations, carry out feasibility studies, and support up to two research projects. There is a clear business need for each centre and EPSRC support will be used as a platform from which the centres can secure further investment from industry and other funders.

About the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

  1. EPSRC is the largest UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £850 million a year in a broad range of subjects – from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering.
  2. EPSRC is pioneering research and skills for our future.

Video News Release & B-Roll Available

  1. B-roll footage including interviews and GV's of the new EPSRC Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre in Southampton is available on a feed via the BT Tower
  2. For further details please contact Tessa Parry-Wingfield at TNR on 020 7963 7163.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

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