23/3/11 – UK Government selects Cranfield to help fuel manufacturing growth
23 March 2011
Cranfield University is to play a key role in ensuring the UK stays at the cutting edge of manufacturing research, following a £51m boost by the Government. This will stimulate growth for the UK economy and will focus on the pharmaceutical, aerospace and automotive industries. To facilitate this, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will set up nine new Centres for Innovative Manufacturing and Cranfield University has been selected as the top contributor, being appointed to five of these – three as the lead university and participating in a further two.
Over 50 leading companies will also be pooling a further £20m research funding to strengthen this initiative. Partners include General Motors, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, IBM, GKN, Unilever and a range of high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises. Cranfield has well established partnerships with many of these key partners.
One of Cranfield’s key strengths is the ability to translate innovation into practical applications. Cranfield’s major research and innovation capability in manufacturing includes design and materials processing through to manufacturing technology and service, all underpinned by our strength in engineering and management. Cranfield is therefore well placed to provide a major contribution to this national initiative.
Manufacturing generates £140 billion a year for the UK economy and accounts for 55 per cent of total UK exports, and increasingly, it is high-tech, advanced manufacturing expertise that leads the way.
These national centres will focus on emerging science including next generation ultra-precision production systems and products, novel composite technologies and intelligent automation, helping generate new ideas that will fuel growth.
Announcing this initiative, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “Partnerships between higher education and industry are increasingly essential drivers of innovation, opportunity and national prosperity. These new centres will combine inventive research and business acumen to develop the high-tech manufacturing industries we need to secure sustainable growth.”
Cranfield’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir John O’Reilly, said: “We generate and transform knowledge. Having been selected by the ESPRC as a significant partner in this new initiative, we will build on our strengths to help UK manufacturing to remain competitive internationally.”
The EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing involving Cranfield University are:
• EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Ultra Precision will create ultra high-precision manufacturing tools that can make product with nanoscale precision. Led by Cranfield University. The EPSRC grant value will total £5.2m, with an additional £1.2m from industry partners.
• EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing for Industrial Sustainability will rapidly reduce the resource and energy-intensity of the production of existing goods, and investigate options for a radical redesign of the industrial system. Led by Cranfield University. The grant will total £4.5m, with an additional £1.3m from industry partners.
• EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services will design high value systems such as aircraft engines that require less engineering service, and incur less whole life cost. Led by Cranfield University. The grant will total £4.8m, with an additional £3.5m from industry partners.
• EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites will develop the next generation of composite manufacturing processes based on low cost, short cycle times, efficiency and sustainability. Led by University of Nottingham and partnered by Cranfield University. The grant will total £4.9m, with an additional £1.8m from industry partners.
• EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation will capture and advance human skills and develop automated processes. Led by Loughborough University and partnered by Cranfield University. The grant will total £4.8m, with an additional £334,000 from industry partners.