University of Sheffield
University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
The University of Sheffield has positioned itself as a key player in the growth of the UK’s advanced manufacturing industry. With extensive research and development and additive manufacturing projects coming out of its Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the University is now backing plans to create the UK’s first Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District.
Sheffield University’s AMRC is at the heart of Europe’s largest research-led Advanced Manufacturing cluster spanning the Sheffield-Rotherham corridor and is joined by the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Waverly and the AMRC’s Factory 2050 project at Sheffield Business Park. The objective behind the Innovation District is to connect the region’s research institutions, firms and business incubators across the advanced manufacturing sector to boost the region’s aerospace, healthcare, transportation and civil nuclear technologies.
"The Sheffield city region has a tremendous opportunity in manufacturing innovation, not only in relation to our own local companies and employment but for the UK as a whole, including to support the UK as an exporter,” explained University of Sheffield’s Vice Chancellor Sir Keith Burnett. “The University of Sheffield's vision to further develop its relationship with industry to produce major infrastructure in energy and transport is a focus of international partnership from China and Brazil, and seen as a having the potential to rebalance the UK's manufacturing economy by the UK government.”
The development comes as Vice President of Washington DC-based Brookings Institution and author of “The Rise of Innovation Districts”, Bruce Katz visited the University’s AMRC and is currently in discussion with partners across the region on development plans.
Innovation Districts break the trend of isolated corporate campuses. Unlike traditional science parts they are equipped with the benefits of urban living and situated in areas that can integrate work, housing and recreation.
Katz also visited companies in the region including; Forgemasters, the Tata Proving Factory at Newburgh Precision Engineering and Alcoa, which completed the acquisition of Firth Rixson in November 2014. During his trip Katz also gave a talk to a 400 strong audience on the rise of Innovation Districts.
Professor Keith Ridgway, CBE, Executive Dean of the AMRC with Boeing, commented: “Construction of the AMRC’s Factory 2050, the UK’s first, totally reconfigurable, digital factory, on Sheffield Business Park, together with the existing facilities on the Advanced Manufacturing Park give this region a significant opportunity to develop its own Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District. Bruce Katz is in a position to provide crucial advice on how this region can achieve that aim and further reinforce its status as the heart of advanced manufacturing in the UK.”