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Research boost for UK manufacturing industries

The announcement forms part of the Advanced Manufacturing strand of the Government’s Growth Review and will help stimulate growth through research…

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The announcement forms part of the Advanced Manufacturing strand of the Government’s Growth Review and will help stimulate growth through research in the most promising areas of manufacturing including pharmaceuticals, aerospace and the automotive industry. Funding for science research programmes was ring-fences and protected in the recent Spending Review.

£45 million will fund nine Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centres for Innovative Manufacturing and a further £6 million will support the manufacturing pioneers of the future.

The national centres, run by universities including Nottingham, Cranfield and Strathclyde, will focus on emerging science including biological pharmaceuticals, novel composite technologies, and intelligent automation, helping generate the new ideas that will fuel growth.

A High-Value Manufacturing Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC), also announced today, will play a key role in taking the research from the EPSRC Centres to the next stage of the innovation chain.

David Willetts said:

“These centres will increasingly be essential drivers of innovation, opportunity and national prosperity. They will combine inventive research and business acumen to develop the high-tech manufacturing industries we need to secure sustainable growth.”

Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk said:

“Manufacturing generates £140 billion a year for the economy and accounts for 55 per cent of total UK exports. And increasingly, it is high tech, advanced manufacturing that leads the way.

“But we need to do more to rebalance our economy. These exciting new partnerships between our universities and businesses will play a vital role in keeping UK manufacturing ahead of the game internationally.”

The EPSRC centres and are backed by leading industry partners including GSK, Rolls-Royce, IBM and a range of high-tech small and medium sized enterprises.

The nine new EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing are:


EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Ultra Precision Surfaces, led by Cranfield University. It** **will create ultra high precision manufacturing tools that can make products with nanoscale precision. The EPSRC grant value will total £5.2 million, with an additional £1.2 million from industry partners.

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing for Industrial Sustainability, led by Cranfield University. It** **will rapidly reduce the resource and energy-intensity of the production of existing goods, and investigate options for a radical redesign of the industrial system. Led The EPSRC Grant will total £4.5 million, with an additional £1.3 million from industry partners.

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through Life Engineering Services, led by Cranfield University. It** **will design high value systems such as aircraft engines that require less engineering service, and incur less whole life cost. The EPSRC grant will total £4.8 million, with an additional £3.5 million from industry partners.

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites, led by the University of Nottingham. It** **will develop the next generation of composite manufacturing processes based on low cost, short cycle times, efficiency and sustainability. The grant will total £4.9 million, with an additional £1.8 million from industry partners.

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation, led by Loughborough University. It** **will capture and advance human skills and develop automated processes. The EPSRC grant will total £4.8 million, with an additional £334,000 from industry partners.


EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing, led by Loughborough University. It will combine multi-material, multifunctional devices with amalgamated electrical, optical and structural properties in a single manufacturing process using additive manufacturing. The EPSRC grant will total £4.9 million, with an additional £3.2 million from industry partners.

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation, led by the University of Strathclyde. It** **will take forward the move from batch manufacturing to fully continuous manufacturing processes for high value chemical products. This will lead to higher levels of quality, lower cost and more sustainable production. The EPSRC grant will total £4.9 million, with an additional £1.8 million from industry partners.

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Advanced Metrology, led by the University of Huddersfield. It** **will create and developing a ‘factory on the machine’ linking measurement and production to minimise cost and allow ever increasing complexity and quality in manufacturing. The EPSRC grant will total £4 million, with an additional £3.2 million from industry partners.

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies, led by University College London. It will create the capabilities by which UK companies will be able to select drug candidates for clinical trials, both on the basis of clinical efficacy manufacturing feasibility, resulting in greatly reduced costs. The EPSRC grant will total £4.9 million, with an additional £3.9 million from industry partners.

Manufacturing pioneers of the future will be supported via a £6 milion programme of new EPSRC Manufacturing Fellowships which aim to forge more effective links between business and research. The** five year **Fellowships will provide support for at least six exceptional engineers and technology specialists from business who are able to bridge university and industrial cultures and who have the potential to transform UK research and manufacturing. Each Fellow will lead a £1 million programme of research.

A High-Value Manufacturing Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC), also announced today, will play a key role in taking the research from the EPSRC Centres to the next stage of the innovation chain.

All manufacturing policies proposals from the Growth Review will be announced by Budget 2011.

Notes to editors:


  1. David Willets launched the new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies at University College London, at 11am, Thursday 17 March.

  2. EPSRC Manufacturing Fellowships will provide five years support for at least six exceptional engineers and technology specialists from business who are able to bridge university and industrial cultures. Each Fellow will lead a £1 million programme of research.

  3. BIS’ online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom for more information.

Notes to Editors

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Published 17 March 2011