Six new £10 million research hubs that will explore and improve new manufacturing techniques across fields such as targeted biological medicines, 3D printing, and composite materials were announced today by Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson.
Funded by government through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the hubs will draw together expertise from 17 universities and 200 industrial and academic partners to upgrade the UK's manufacturing capabilities and take greater advantage of the UK's innovative strengths. Through increased collaboration between universities and industry, more products can be developed to meet industry needs and progress from the research lab to market – boosting the UK economy.
The hubs will be led by Cardiff University, the universities of Huddersfield, Nottingham, Sheffield, Strathclyde and University College London.
Announcing this major investment in the UK's manufacturing research base, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: "Developing new innovative manufacturing techniques will help UK industry create new products, explore more business opportunities and ensure the UK becomes more competitive and productive.
"This investment will lay the foundations to allow industry and our world-leading universities to thrive for years to come and is exactly the type of project that our upcoming Industrial Strategy will look to support."
Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's Chief Executive, said: "Some of these new Hubs will build on the solid foundations of earlier Centres for Innovative Manufacturing while some, like the Hub at the University of Sheffield, are completely new ventures that have strong links with industry and organisations such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. EPSRC is pleased to be at the forefront of the drive to keep the UK a prosperous and productive nation."
Today's announcement follows the government's Autumn Statement commitment to invest an additional £2 billion per year for research and innovation by 2020/21 to unlock the full potential of the UK's research base in areas such as robotics and biotechnology.