Made In regions awarded £400m funding to support innovation

Research and development initiatives across Yorkshire and the West Midlands have been handed a £400m boost from the government.

The funding is part of a £780m support package announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond that will see the expansion of successful catapult centres around the UK. The move is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

In the West Midlands – the largest beneficiary of the latest funding – £270.9m is being divided between the Manufacturing Technology Centre and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), both in Coventry and the Energy Systems Catapult, which is based in Birmingham.

Across Yorkshire and The Humber, £126.7m is being allocated for the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham and Sheffield, and sharing the funding is the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, also in Rotherham.

The AMRC and NAMRC are both part of the High Value Manufacturing Centre.

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.

“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.”

In Coventry, WMG has been awarded £100m to support its work within the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

Archie MacPherson Chief Executive, WMG centre HVM Catapult said: “We are delighted with the new five-year funding package.

“The Catapult programme at WMG focuses on helping the UK become a world leader in Low Emissions Mobility, from lightweighting vehicle components to make cars more fuel efficient, to accelerating the development of next generation technologies for energy efficient and autonomous transport.”

The MTC is the recipient of £122m and was visited by Mr Hammond to officially open the new Sopwith Building. This ground-breaking facility has been designed to help start-ups and entrepreneurs bring innovative products to market.

Mr Hammond said: “We are working hard to build a stronger, fairer economy – dealing with the deficit, helping people into work, and cutting taxes for individuals and businesses. Unemployment is at its lowest since the 1970s, our national debt is starting to fall, and the economy has grown every year since 2010.

“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.”

Jason Pitt, CEO, Made In Group, said: “It is very encouraging that the government has backed the technologies of tomorrow and that more than half of the total funding package will be invested in the Midlands and Yorkshire is fantastic news.

“It is an acknowledgement of the world class research and development facilities we have in these two regions and recognition of the importance these facilities will play in helping to generate the UK’s future wealth.

“It also underlines how important it is that companies embrace the technologies of Industry 4.0 so that the UK can become a world leader in advanced manufacturing.”