The first of proposed £200 million network of Technology and Innovation Centres to be set up around the UK was announced today (17 March). The centre in High Value Manufacturing, will be formed from a group of existing research and technology facilities, providing an integrated capability and covering all forms of manufacture using metals and composites, process manufacturing technologies and bioprocessing.
At the same time, the formation of nine new university-based Centres for Innovative Manufacturing with government funding of £45 million was announced. These centres will be charged with taking basic research and developing it to the point where it can be taken forward to commercialisation by the TICs.
The formation of the first TIC follows the publication a year ago of a report by the entrepreneur Hermann Hauser, in which he said the UK’s approach to exploiting basic research is sub critical, lacks a national strategy, does not meet business needs and overlooks relevant expertise.
The partners in the High Value Manufacturing Technology Innovation Centre are the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, both in Rotherham, South Yorkshire; the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry; the Advanced Forming Research Centre at the University of Strathclyde; the National Composite Centre at Bristol University, the Centre for Process Innovation in Sedgefield, Country Durham, and the Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University.
The Centre will be funded from a £200 million pool announced last year for a national network of six to eight TICs. The Technology Strategy Board, which has responsibility for establishing and overseeing the TICs, was asked to fast-track a centre for High Value Manufacturing.
Over 140 organisations registered an interest. The expert panel that selected the preferred bidders for the High Value Manufacturing centre was chaired by Andrew Reynolds-Smith of the engineering company GKN.