Northern Advanced Manufacturing Corridor can equip UK to deliver -fourth industrial revolution

7th November 2016

By creating a new Northern Advanced Manufacturing Corridor, stretching from the Sheffield City Region to Lancashire, the UK could deliver the -fourth industrial revolution, according to the findings of a new science and innovation audit.

The audit, Driving Productivity Growth Through Innovation in High Value Manufacturing, launched at the Innovate UK conference today by Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark MP, shows that between Sheffield City Region and Lancashire are many of the key components and assets needed to drive productivity growth in sectors which rely on advanced manufacturing and key linked sectors, to strengthen the economy of the region and equip the UK to compete globally. Particular strengths of the corridor include: £207 million of grant research income per year, of which £161.7 million is relevant to high value manufacturing sectors. The corridor also has several industrial research centres - including the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Nuclear AMRC, Factory 2050, the world's first fully-reconfigurable manufacturing facility, and the University of Central Lancashire's Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) as well as the planned Lancaster University's Health Innovation Campus. The corridor also already includes strong research and development partnerships with companies including Siemens, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems as well as with SMEs within key supply chains in a variety of high value manufacturing sub-sectors. The audit was commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and will inform investment decisions to stimulate productivity and economic growth across the 'Northern Powerhouse'; playing a key part in the region's contribution to the national industrial strategy and nationwide economic growth. The University of Sheffield undertook the audit in partnership with Lancaster University. Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: -Between the geographies of the Sheffield City Region and Lancashire lies a unique opportunity. One which the UK economy desperately needs. "Within our existing Northern Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Corridor, we have strong high value manufacturing industrial bases, innovative excellence, world-class science and multi-level skills training; ensuring that the region is ready to bring the right skills, people and technology to close the productivity gap not just for the North but for the UK as a whole. -This science and innovation audit provides a robust picture of innovation, industrial excellence and world-class research and I am confident that the other audits conducted across the UK will also show the same. "What we need now is a cutting-edge national strategy to help regions like ours to deliver real change which will create economic growth and with it the jobs and opportunities which are so crucial for all in our communities. Professor Mark Smith, Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, said: -Lancaster University is a source and driver of new thinking and practice that improves communities, lives and the economy. We are an international university that seeks to maximise our local and regional societal and economic impact. As such we are delighted to be a key partner in the delivery of the Lancashire and Sheffield City Region Science and Innovation Audit. -There is clear stagnation in the productivity performance of UK industry. Whilst there are some notable examples of world-leading businesses across our key regional advanced manufacturing sector, there are too many further businesses not operating at optimum levels. The partnership brought together under this SIA and the proposals we have set out will have a significant impact on better enabling the regional industries to exploit the opportunities and meet the challenges presented by Industry 4.0. -The SIA further lays the foundations for new science and innovation collaborations that will put the region at the vanguard of developing and exploiting new innovations to ensure it can sustain and grow the Northern advanced manufacturing industries. Lancaster, as the leading university in the UK for the delivery of economic development programmes, is determined to play a significant role in moving this critical agenda forwards. David Holmes, MAI Manufacturing Operations Director, Military Air & Information, BAE Systems plc, said: -The Science and Innovation Audit is a vital mechanism to ensure that much needed investment is targeted at the priority projects and programmes that will stimulate productivity and economic growth in Lancashire, Sheffield and across the Northern Powerhouse region. -There is a critical need to build on the productivity performance of the advanced engineering and manufacturing sector, particularly within SMEs, to ensure we remain globally competitive. "Key to delivering this will be maximising existing and developing new collaborations between industry and our science and innovation assets. This successful formula can be seen in practice with the emerging Northern Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Corridor and how this SIA drives new and better partnerships to deliver what's required. The full report can be found at www.sheffield.ac.uk/business/sia

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