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Technology centre to commercialise research

Ian Grant

A £40m manufacturing technology centre (MTC) has opened in the Midlands to narrow the gap between scientific discovery and commercial exploitation.

Birmingham, Nottingham and Loughborough universities and The Welding Institute (TWI) hope to commercialise their scientific findings through collaborative research at the centre with firms such as Rolls Royce, Aero Engine Controls' Airbus UK, JLR, Bombardier, BAe Systems and JCB.

The centre at Ansty Park, near Coventry, will attract £130m over 10 years, said business minister Pat McFadden (pictured).

Since the government's Manufacturing Strategy was published in 2008, the government has tried to push firms into low-carbon, high-tech, high value-added manufacturing.

Advantage West Midlands CEO Mick Laverty, one of the funders, said independent economic assessments predicted the UK would earn £45 for the UK for every pound invested in the MTC.

Pat McFadden also launched Manufacturing Insight, a new industry-backed body to sell manufacturing as a career. He said: "Britain has a great manufacturing future, not just a great manufacturing past. We are the sixth largest manufacturing economy globally. But the face of manufacturing here is changing and we need to embrace and support the numerous opportunities created as a result."

Ansty Park will form part of a national network of manufacturing centres to support innovation in manufacturing and help new and emerging products and processes get to market faster.

The site, a former Rolls-Royce airfield, will also house an Ericsson R&D centre.


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