The University of Nottingham has been awarded £5m by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership as part of a Growth Deal expansion, which will help create a major new 8000m2 centre for manufacturing at the University of Nottingham Innovation Park to attract future generations of world-class engineers to the city.
The creation of the new manufacturing centre is part of an investment of £100m in manufacturing research and training at The University of Nottingham over the next 10 years, comprising funding from the University, research councils, industry, government and the EU
The University of Nottingham is a leader in manufacturing research, and already hosts three national centres for Manufacturing in the areas of Composites, Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) and Food, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
The University works with many of the world’s biggest manufacturing businesses, including Airbus, BAE Systems, Cummins, IBM, HP, Jaguar Land Rover, Laing O’Rourke, Rolls-Royce and Siemens. Nottingham has also plays a leading role in European Union manufacturing research projects through initiatives such as Horizon 2020, Clean Sky 2 and Factories of the Future.
The new manufacturing building, which will be home to the University’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IfAM), will provide a unique environment to enable the University to build on its track record and with manufacturers of all sizes, from major multi-national corporates through to local small and medium sized companies.
Skills challenges remain a key issue for many manufacturing businesses in the UK, due to factors such as an ageing workforce and a shortage of graduates with relevant and applicable skills and experience. The centre will help to address this by training graduates with the specialist skills and knowledge which employers require. A number of undergraduate and MSc manufacturing courses will be offered, providing a range of placement opportunities for students in businesses large and small.
The new building will also bring together the research activity of the Advanced Manufacturing, 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing and Polymer Composites research groups. These groups comprise over 200 academics, researchers and PhD students investigating manufacturing science, providing a true focal point for manufacturing innovation in Nottinghamshire.
Speaking about the new centre, Professor Andrew Long, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Nottingham, said: “This is fantastic news for The University and for Nottingham. It means that we can strengthen and expand our partnerships with many of the world’s biggest manufacturers, leading to the development of new products, production processes and other services which have the potential to bring growth to the UK. The centre will also help us attract the next generation of manufacturing students to meet the increasing demand for highly skilled graduate manufacturing engineers.”
“In addition, the new building will open up exciting new opportunities for collaborations with local small and medium sized businesses,” added Professor Long. “We also plan to create demonstration and development facilities which will provide additional services that we can offer to SMEs in the region.”
The University of Nottingham already offers support for SME manufacturers through the Nottingham Manufacturing Network, which provides a forum for smaller manufacturing businesses to share best practice and explore common issues facing the manufacturing sector.
Mark Goldby, Managing Director of SMS Electronics, and Chair of the Nottingham Manufacturing Network, added: “The announcement of a new manufacturing centre at The University of Nottingham is good news for local manufacturers. Lots of smaller manufacturers in our region are doing outstanding work, but they often struggle to find young people with the skills that they require.
“The Nottingham Manufacturing Network is already working with local schools to help them understand the kind of skills that manufacturers are looking for. The creation of the new manufacturing centre at the University will not only provide our members with the opportunity to input into graduate programmes, but also access top-class manufacturing research expertise which will help put Nottingham back on the global manufacturing map.”
The D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, which covers Derbyshire, Derby, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham received funding of £22.2m through the latest Growth Deal expansion. This is in addition to the £174m of funding committed by the Government in July this year.
Over the lifetime of its Deal (2015-2021), the Local Enterprise Partnership estimates that up to 22,000 new jobs could be created, 10,000 new homes built and up to £550m public and private investment generated.