Universities Minister sees innovation at work at University of Sheffield AMRC

20 January 2020

Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Chris Skidmore MP, visited the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to see how its model for innovation is powering a manufacturing renaissance in the North of England. 

Mr Skidmore was taken on a tour of the AMRC - part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult - to see how it allows academia, industry and government to work together to address challenges around productivity, processes and skills in a range of sectors, including aerospace, energy and construction. He also took part in discussions about the type of investment, commitment and structures the North of England needs to build the innovation, skills and business base required to rebalance the UK economy, reshore industry and recognise the North’s full potential. 

Minister Chris Skidmore with Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield, Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield and Andrew Storer, Chief Executive Officer at Nuclear AMRC.

Speaking about the visit last Thursday (Jan 16), Science and Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said: “This excellent work is supercharging manufacturing in the North of England, demonstrating the importance of industry, academics and government collaborating to boost prosperity.

“Driving innovation in all parts of the UK is vital. We’re determined to harness brilliant research like this, to grow the economy and secure our status as a global science superpower.”

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “At the AMRC we have a tried and tested model of innovation where government, industry and academia work together to drive innovation that makes a measurable difference to regional and national success. The AMRC model is unique because it offers a real space for innovation - where risks can be taken and the products and processes that emerge can be immediately tested in partnership with leading global companies. 

“This model could be one of the key drivers for Northern Powerhouse growth, and we are excited to explore how we can work with other universities to adapt it to support towns, cities and industry sectors across the North of England.” 

Minister Chris Skidmore hears from the team behind the Digital Operating Theatre project by the Medical AMRC group.

The University of Sheffield AMRC is a network of world-leading research and innovation centres that work with some of the world’s leading companies including Boeing, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Siemens and McLaren. The AMRC also undertakes vital research and development projects with SMEs and teaches apprentices of all levels at the AMRC Training Centre. 

The majority of the AMRC facilities are based in Rotherham and Sheffield, but the AMRC and the Nuclear AMRC also have sites in Derby, Birkenhead, Preston and Broughton in Wales. 

Last November, AMRC Cymru, a £20m state-of-the-art research and development facility in North Wales, was officially opened. AMRC Cymru is a purpose built research and development facility close to the Airbus wing-manufacturing plant in Broughton, and has been described by Welsh government ministers as a ‘game changer’ for the economies of Wales and the northern powerhouse.

In December, the University of Sheffield AMRC was given the green light to build a dedicated facility in the North West of England - AMRC North West - which will boost Lancashire’s reputation as one of the UK’s most innovative regions for advanced manufacturing and act as a powerful magnet for inward investors.