£60 million boost to strengthen the UK's manufacturing base through six new research hubs

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Abstract image of purple and pink circles
  • Six universities across England, Wales and Scotland will share government funding to improve the UK's manufacturing processes
  • An additional £87.5 million total contribution from partners, academia and industry
  • Key part of the government's Industrial Strategy to further UK economic growth

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.

Summaries of the Hubs

Future Manufacturing Hub in Targeted Healthcare (EP/P006485/1)

The current 'one-size-fits-all' approach to drug development is challenged by the ability to treat patients as individuals. The Hub will provide the manufacturing infrastructure and capabilities needed to enable UK manufacturers to exploit fully medical precision advances, through new technologies, skilled personnel, IP and spin-outs. The Hub and its Spokes will address the manufacturing challenges to ensure that new targeted biological medicines can be developed quickly and manufactured at a cost affordable to society.

Led by: Professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker, University College London

EPSRC grant: £10,000,000

Total Contribution from all Project partners: £13,700,000

Academic Partners: UCL, University of Warwick, Imperial College London, The University of Manchester, University of Nottingham, Loughborough University.

Industrial partners: Albumedix, Allergan, AstraZeneca/Medimmune, Autolus, BIA Separation, BioIndustry Association, BiologicB Consulting, BioPharm Services, Cell & Gene Therapy Catapult , CPI/NBMC, DeltaDot, Eli Lilly, FloDesignSonics, Francis BioPharm Consulting , Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, GlaxoSmithKline (Biopharma) & GlaxoSmithKline (Cell/Gene Therapy), KTN Ltd, LGC, Lonza, Merck & Co., Merck KGaA, MMIP, NIBSC, Novo Nordisk, Oxford BioMedica, Perceptive, Pfizer, Puridify, Purolite Ltd, Reneuron, Roche, Sartorius, Sutro Biopharma, Tillingbourne Consulting, TrakCel, UCB Pharma, Wyatt

MAPP: EPSRC Future Manufacturing Hub in Manufacture using Advanced Powder Processes (EP/P006566/1)

MAPP's vision is to deliver on the promise of powder-based manufacturing processes to provide low energy, low cost, and low waste high value manufacturing route and products to secure UK manufacturing productivity and growth. MAPP will deliver on the promise of advanced powder processing technologies through creation of new, connected, intelligent, cyber physical manufacturing environments to achieve 'right first time' product manufacture.

Led by: Professor Iain Todd, University of Sheffield

EPSRC Grant: £10,000,000

Total Contribution from all Project partners: £7,200,000

Academic Partners: University of Sheffield, The University of Manchester, University of Oxford, Imperial College London, University of Leeds.

Industrial partners: GKN, Rolls-Royce, Messier Bugatti Dowty, Johnson Matthey, Weir, Morgan Advanced Ceramics, Element 6, LPW, Eastman, Maher, Seco, Metalysis, Renishaw, Xaar, PSI, Freeman, Zeiss, HVMC, AFRC, AMRC, CPI, MTC, NAMRC and WMG

The Future Composites Manufacturing Hub (EP/P006701/1)

The Future Composites Manufacturing Hub will enable a step change in manufacturing with advanced polymer composite materials. The Hub will drive the development of automated manufacturing technologies that deliver components and structures for demanding applications, particularly in the aerospace, transportation, construction and energy sectors.

Led by: Professor Andrew Long, University of Nottingham

EPSRC Grant: £10,000,000

Total Contribution from all Project partners: £9,000,000

Academic Partners: University of Nottingham, University of Bristol, The University of Manchester, Imperial College London, University of Southampton, Cranfield University.

Industrial partners: University of Warwick, National Composites Centre, Coriolis Composites UK, Gordon Murray Design, Pentaxia, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Network Rail Ltd, GKN Aerospace, Airbus Group Limited, Composite Integration Ltd, Sigmatex UK Ltd, M Wright & Sons Ltd, GE Aviation, ESI Group, Hexcel Composites Ltd, Scott Bader Co Ltd, Aston Martin Lagonda (Gaydon), Luxfer Gas Cylinders Ltd, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Bentley Motors Ltd, Manufacturing Technology Centre

EPSRC Future Advanced Metrology Hub (EP/P006930/1)

The vision of the Hub is to create ground-breaking embedded metrology and universal metrology informatics systems to be applied across the manufacturing value chain. The resulting pervasive embedding and integration of manufacturing metrology by the Hub will have far reaching implications for UK manufacturing as maximum improvements in product quality, minimization of waste/rework, and minimum lead-times will ultimately deliver direct productivity benefits and improved competitiveness.

Led by: Professor Jane Jiang, University of Huddersfield

EPSRC Grant: £10,000,000

Total Contribution from all Project partners: £15,200,000

Academic Partners: University of Huddersfield, University of Bath, Loughborough University, University of Sheffield.

Industrial partners: Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Nuclear AMRC, National Composites Centre (NCC), NPL, PTB, NIST, Airbus Aerospace, Airbus Defence and Space, AWE, Borg Warner, Cooke Optics, Cummins, DePuy, Delcam, DMG Mori, DRTS Ltd, GKN Aerospace, Hexagon, Holroyd PTG, IBM, Jaguar Land Rover, Machine Tool Technologies Ltd, Moog, Newburgh Engineering Co, NTR, OCF, Reliance Precision, Renishaw, Rolls-Royce, Taylor Hobson, Zeiss, BSI, Campden BRI, ISO Technical Committee TC213, Leeds City Region, National Product Verification Programme, Stuttgart University, The Manufacturing Technologies Association

Future Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation (CMAC) Research Hub (EP/P006965/1)

Our Hub research is driven by the societal need to produce medicines and materials for modern living through novel manufacturing processes. The vision is to quickly and reliably design a process to manufacture a given material into the ideal particle using an efficient continuous process, and ensure its effective delivery to the consumer.

Led by: Professor Alastair Florence, University of Strathclyde

EPSRC Grant: £10,000,000

Total Contribution from all Project partners: £31,160,000

Academic Partners: University of Strathclyde, University of Cambridge, Loughborough University, University of Bath, University of Sheffield, Imperial College London, University of Leeds.

Industrial partners: Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering, TU Graz, NSF ERC Centre for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (C-SOPS), Rutgers and Purdue Universities, USA, Institute for Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), AStar, Singapore, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKlein, Novartis, Bayer, Pfizer, Lilly, Takeda, Syngenta, Mars, AB Sugar, Dr Reddys, UCB, Croda, Infineum, Cancer Research UK, Technology companies and SMEs, PWC, Siemens, Mettler Toledo, PSE, Perceptive, NiTech, Sirius, AMTech, Booth Welsh, Clairet, DEM solutions, Malvern, Alconbury Weston Ltd, Bruker, Britest, Solid Form Solutions, Encap /Capsugel, Cambridge Reactor Design, Blacktrace, aDDoPT (large UK AMSCI project) , ReMedIES (large UK AMSCI project), National Physical Laboratory, Knowledge Centre Materials Chemistry (KCMC), Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), Scottish Enterprise, Diamond Light Source, Chemical Growth Partnership (CGP),

Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub (EP/P006973/1)

The Hub will research into large scale Compound Semiconductor manufacturing and in manufacturing integrated Compound Semiconductors on Silicon. This will radically boost the uptake and application of Compound Semiconductor technology by applying the manufacturing approaches of Silicon to Compound Semiconductors. It will also exploit the highly advantageous electronic, magnetic, optical and power handling properties of Compound Semiconductors while utilising the cost and scaling advantage of silicon technology where best suited and generate novel integrated functionality such as sensing, data processing and communication.

Led by: Professor Peter Smowton, Cardiff University

EPSRC Grant: £10,000,000

Total Contribution from all Project partners: £11,230,000

Academic Partners: Cardiff University, University of Sheffield, UCL, The University of Manchester.

Industrial partners: IQE - Drew Nelson, CSC - Wyn Meredith, CST - Neil Martin, Microsemi-Martin McHugh, Renishaw - Nick Weston, Silverwing - Neil Pearson, TWI - Nick Couling, Land Instruments - Fiona Turner, Amethyst, Selex, Macom - Andrew Patterson, Diamond microwave devices - Richard Lang, Linwave - Ian Duke, Seren Photonics Limited - Carl Griffiths, Zeta Specialist Lighting - Phil Shadbolt, Lux-TSI - Gareth Jones, NPL - J.T. Janssen, Lockheed Martin - Brent Segal, Toshiba Research Cambridge - Stuart Holmes, Teratech - Byron Alderman, Huawei Technologies Dusseldorf GmbH - Gao Yunhai, CIP - David Smith, Oclaro - Mike Wale, Bristol University - Daniel Whitcomb, Philips, Umicore.

Notes for Editors

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate.

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture.

We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via UK Research and Innovation.

Reference: PN 69-16

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