A collaboration agreement has been signed between Derby City Council, the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and one of the world’s leading manufacturing research institutions to establish a new multi-million pound innovation facility at Infinity Park, the 100-acre manufacturing-focused commercial and technology site between Sinfin and Chellaston.
Proposals have been approved to enable the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centres (AMRC) to establish a new 50,000 ft2 base on Infinity Park – one of the four sites in the Nottingham and Derby Enterprise Zone overseen by the D2N2 LEP.
AMRC was established by the University of Sheffield in 2001 on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham and has developed into a cluster of innovation centres focusing on the UK’s key engineering industries.
It is now home to 600 highly skilled engineers working in partnership with some of the world’s most respected manufacturing brands, including Rolls-Royce, Siemens, Sheffield Forgemasters, Airbus, 3M, Laing O’Rourke, Cammell Laird, BAE Systems, Westinghouse, Sellafield and EDF.
AMRC recently helped secure more than £100m in inward investment to the Sheffield City region from Boeing, Rolls-Royce and McLaren and is looking to replicate its success with the new research centre at Infinity Park, which it hopes will attract firms seeking to develop new technologies to the city.
The agreement will support Derby City Council and D2N2’s bold strategy for improving the region’s economic rowth, skills and jobs. D2N2 is allocating £12.9million to Infinity from its Local Growth Fund allocation over six years to help improve infrastructure on the site.
The new 50,000 ft2 Derby facility will be an extension of the iHub and allow more new technologies to be delivered regionally, bringing with it access to the national High Value Manufacturing ‘Catapult’.
Catapults are a network of independent, not-for-profit, UK research centres designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific areas and drive economic growth.
Initially the new AMRC facility will be based in the iHub while the collaboration develops plans for the new building and the activities within it.
Commenting on the agreement Councillor Martin Rawson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the Economy, said:
“The iHub is a real beacon for innovation and growth and is now home to some of the most inspiring SMEs from across the UK’s planes, trains and automobiles sector. With Rolls-Royce and many other of high-tech companies in the area, it makes perfect sense to house the new innovation centre close by on Infinity Park.
“It’s a real privilege to have attracted one of the nationally recognised High Value Manufacturing ‘Catapult’ Centre projects to Infinity Park.
“We hope that AMRC’s expertise for research and innovation, coupled with the city’s strong skills base, will reinforce Derby’s reputation as the go-to place for global manufacturing companies and act as a catalyst for attracting even more high-tech engineering and manufacturing companies to Infinity Park.”
Andrew Storer, CEO of AMRC’s energy centre, added: “AMRC aims to build a world-class manufacturing base here in the UK. We have succeeded in making the Sheffield City Region a magnet for inward investment. Now, with the support of Derby City Council and D2N2 we hope to have the same impact here at Infinity Park.
“The new Derby facility has the potential for cross-sector activities, which we hope will enable us to expand our work into new areas of research.
“For me this is doubly exciting as I started work as an apprentice very close to here, so hopefully this will inspire the next generation of talented engineers – boys and girls – to continue the tradition for advanced manufacturing in Derby and the Midlands Engine.”
Peter Richardson, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “Derbyshire and the wider D2N2 LEP area has a history of and reputation for manufacturing excellence, but we need to look to the future.
“We’re investing heavily in Infinity Park Derby, part of our Nottingham & Derby Enterprise Zone, an attractive place for innovative companies to do business. This advanced manufacturing research facility onsite will be a game-changer, enabling small and medium-sized businesses to access leading technological expertise.”
Greg Jennings, acting director of economic regeneration at Derby City Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Infinity Park and indeed the whole of Derby. Since it was launched 18 months ago, the iHub has succeeded in building on the city’s reputation for creating cutting-edge ideas, particularly in the aerospace, automotive and transport industries.
The addition of the new innovation centre on Infinity Park will reinforce the city’s reputation as the UK ‘capital for innovation.’”
The iHub Innovation Centre is part of the Connect Derby managed workspace scheme, which connects seven building across the city.