Government Earmarks £150m For High-Tech Manufacturing


The aerospace industry including Rolls Royce will receive funding to help boost high-tech manufacturing

The government has announced that it is setting aside around £150m to help boost what it calls “advanced manufacturing” including a printable electronics centre, and a centre of excellence for silicon design.

In a statement released this week, the department for business, innovation and skills, said it is planning to invest in new technologies and improve access to information particularly in the aerospace sector.

“At the heart of Britain’s knowledge economy is our manufacturing base. High-value, highly skilled and internationally successful businesses that have worked hard to secure a lead in hi-tech global supply chains,” said business secretary Peter Mandelson. “This practical package of measures will help equip British manufacturers, of all sizes and sectors, to take advantage of the advanced technologies and new market opportunities now shaping our low carbon industrial future.”

According to the BSI, investments will include:

  • A total of £45 million funding to Rolls-Royce, which will see four new advanced manufacturing facilities built in the UK – three in aerospace and one civil nuclear – creating and sustaining around 800 jobs.
  • The provision of £45 million from the low carbon element of the Strategic Investment Fund to support research and technology critical to the development of low carbon aircraft engine technology. This will be led by Rolls-Royce.
  • At least £40 million investment in SAMULET Research and Technology programme – a collaborative aerospace project focussing on productivity and environmental improvements – with £28.5 million from the Technology Strategy Board, £11.5 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and further support under discussion with regional bodies.
  • A £12 million expansion of the Printable Electronics Centre in Sedgefield which focuses on display technology, creating up to 1,500 jobs by 2014.
  • The Technology Strategy Board will invest a further £5 million in collaborative R&D projects as part of its High Value Manufacturing competition, in addition to the £24 million invested earlier this year.
  • A £4 million expansion of the highly successful Manufacturing Advisory Service to help a wider range of businesses improve efficiency and increase orders (in addition to the £4 million expansion announced as part of the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy).
  • Investment of £500,000 to support the development of a Centre of Excellence for Silicon Design in the South West.

Earlier this month, the EC announced that it has opened the first round of calls for funding of public-private partnerships to back new technologies in areas such as manufacturing, construction and the automotive industry. The EC is backing green investment as part of 2009, which it has labelled the Year of Creativity and Innovation.

“It is now recognised that investing in R&D is not a luxury when times are easy, but a necessity when times are hard. If Europe makes “smart” investments in strategic sectors today, this will create jobs and sustainable growth tomorrow,” said EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potocnik.