County Antrim visitors inspired by 'transformative' AMRC

08 July 2022

A delegation from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council have been given an insight into the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre's (AMRC) transformative impact in South Yorkshire, as part of plans for the creation of a state-of-the-art facility in Northern Ireland.

The Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (AMIC) will see the creation of a ‘Factory of the Future’ at Global Point Business Park in Newtownabbey. Led by Queen’s University, the AMIC project will be the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, offering advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses access to the very latest technology, specialist equipment and expertise.

To learn from other experiences of industry-research collaborations, a delegation of officers and elected members from the Council and its project partners at Queen’s visited the AMRC and were given a tour of the South Yorkshire site by research director, Ben Morgan, and regional development director, Richard Scaife.

Since its inception over 20 years ago on the former Orgreave coalfield, the AMRC has brought more than £260m and 600 jobs to South Yorkshire. It is part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross, said: “Our visit to the AMRC was hugely enlightening and allowed us to gain invaluable knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that could present themselves down the line as we embark on the AMIC project.

“We were truly impressed by the scale of what has been accomplished. What was once a barren, brownfield site is now a thriving centre of innovation that is home to industry heavyweights and attracts some of the sector’s best and brightest researchers.

“The AMRC has been transformative for the surrounding area, drawing in a wave of investment, job creation and over 1,000 new homes. It has also invested heavily in apprenticeships, with a state-of–the art training centre providing incredible opportunities for budding engineers.”

Chair of the Council’s ‘Our Prosperity Outcome Delivery Group’, Alderman Mark Cosgrove, added: “We will certainly be looking to the AMRC project for inspiration as we work towards making the AMIC a reality. The Council and our partners at Queen’s University believe AMIC could one day bring similar benefits to Northern Ireland.

“The AMIC project is a key part of our overall strategy to attract over £1billion of investment to Antrim and Newtownabbey in the next few 2-3 years. We are well on track to achieve our investment target and create over 2000 new jobs by 2025.”

The Council will be working closely with the local and regional supply chain businesses to ensure that they can both contribute to and benefit from AMIC and boost the local economy. It is anticipated that up to 1,500 jobs will be created over the life of the project.

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