UK centres for advanced manufacturing

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The first three state of the art manufacturing research centres funded under a new £70 million Government investment will be based at Southampton, Loughborough and Brunel universities, to help UK businesses develop the technology products of the future and underpin manufacturing growth.

The three new EPSRC centres will focus research efforts in the fields of:

  • Photonics (the science and application of light using optical fibres to revolutionise the internet and telecommunications) at Southampton.
  • Regenerative Medicine (therapies to enable damaged, diseased or defective tissues to work normally again) at Loughborough.
  • Liquid Metals (developing innovative technologies for the reuse and recycling of metal) at Brunel.

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Professor David Payne – Director of Optoelectronics Research Centre, Southampton University

Inventing things doesn’t ultimately cut it for you. What you want to do is turn it into real products to the benefit of the UK economy and that’s what these new initiatives and EPSRC is about. Its saying lets bridge the gap between the fantastic research that we do in the UK - we are known worldwide for our innovation, perhaps we are not so well known at exploiting it.

In Southampton we’re developing photonics. So what is photonics? Photonics is everywhere. It’s a platform technology, it pervades all of science, it navigates air liners, it defends the nation, it senses the environment, it cuts steel in new low carbon methods of manufacturing, it powers the internet and some would believe it’s the next generation processing as well.

Did you know that this little strand here can carry up to 10 kilowatts of light, that’s enough to cut this bench in half and did we expect that when we started work on fibre lasers, funded by EPSRC? Of course we didn’t but that’s where we are today.

We have a very strong and very smart manufacturing sector in the UK. The difference is that we now have to apply our particular skills - which are our excellent education, our way of funding science, our commitment to science and engineering - to remain that smart country, to design the new products and to solve the problems that are experienced by the world today.