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£30m for new manufacturing hubs

Three new hubs centred in Manchester, Swansea and Sheffield universities have been created to boost British manufacturing in steel, bio-manufacturing and electrical machinery.

The hubs will each receive £10 million in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to pioneer new practices to ensure the chosen sectors can meet evolving industry needs.

A total of 67 industry and academic partners are involved in the hubs, including major manufacturers such as Tata Steel, Siemens, Rolls-Royce and Dyson.

The University of Manchester’s Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) will lead the new Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub (FBRH), which will develop industrial biotechnologies which support bio-based manufacturing in the pharmaceuticals, value-added chemicals and engineering materials sectors. 

Industrial biotechnology is the use of biological resources such as plants, algae, fungi, marine life and micro-organisms, combined with the emerging science of synthetic biology, to transform the manufacture of chemicals and materials.

The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) will lead the Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub, which will assist UK manufacturing to capture value in the electrical machine supply chain for the aerospace, energy, automative and premium consumer sectors.

The global shift towards cleaner growth and more resource efficient economies requires new, improved electrical machines to feed the demand for electric cars, planes and renewable energy, with progress particularly needed around new materials and digital approaches.

Swansea University will lead the SUSTAIN Manufacturing Hub, which has been co-created by the UK’s five major UK steel producers - Tata, Liberty, British Steel, Celsa and Sheffield Forgemasters. The Hub aims to transform the whole steel supply chain, concentrating in particular on zero waste iron and steelmaking, and using data to deliver smarter steel processing in new metallurgical processes.

Commenting on the new hubs, Industry Minister Richard Harrington said:

“This investment brings together world-class researchers and leading manufacturing firms to help revolutionise how key industries like steel operate in the future.

“These developments will help us build a smarter, greener and more efficient manufacturing sector in the UK which is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy to harness the opportunities of clean growth, creating more high-skilled jobs.”

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