£20m research centre in the North given the green light

Plans for a £20m state-of-the-art facility in Lancashire have been approved by South Ribble Borough Council and Ribble Valley Borough Council.

Permission has been granted today (Dec 12) for one of the world's most prestigious research and development groups, the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to build and equip a dedicated research and development facility at the heart of the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone, one of four zones that make up the wider Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster.

The new centre will boost the reputation of Lancashire as one of the most innovative regions for advanced manufacturing, attracting inward investor to the area.

Vehicle electrification, battery assembly and light weighting technologies will be some of the focuses of the new 4,500 m2 facility, with capital funding provided through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s Growth Deal.

A high-performing technical research and development team will be created to further Lancashire’s capacity for manufacturing and allow company and supply chain collaboration.

This will come from a £2.5m revenue grant from the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF), matched with £1.6m from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVM Catapult).

James Hughes, research director at the University of Sheffield AMRC North West, said:

 “We are delighted that work can now begin on an applied research facility that will equal the best in the world, consolidating the reputation of Lancashire and the wider Northern Powerhouse as the go-to-place for innovation expertise and skills in advanced manufacturing.”

The new, north-west building will benefit from machine tools, additive and hybrid manufacturing, automated assembly, robotics and autonomous manufacturing processes and systems, among others.

Melissa Conlon, Commercial Director for University of Sheffield AMRC North West, added:

“Our mission is to ensure that Lancashire and the North becomes the engine room of the fourth industrial revolution, harnessing the latest digital technologies, from robotics and automation to artificial intelligence and augmented reality, to support the transition to a low carbon economy, accelerate the move to transport electrification, drive up productivity, improve the competitiveness of indigenous industries and make the region a magnet for global manufacturing brands to invest.”


Photo: AMRC (artist impression of what the facility will look like)


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