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Digital tech competition for advanced manufacturing opens

Manufacturers wanting to adopt the latest digital technologies will be able to bid for a new £30 million R&D competition as part of the government’s Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge.

The Challenge aims to deliver a collaborative, cross-sector approach to help SME manufacturers develop new digital capabilities and knowledge in the application of technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), connected environments, immersive technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT).  

The funding aligns with recommendations made by Siemens UK CEO and co-chair of the governments Made Smarter Commission, Juergen Maier, who explained: 

This investment is an incredibly important step forward, helping our small manufacturers embrace the latest advanced and digital technologies at a very disruptive time for the industry. Through this challenge there is a real opportunity to boost national productivity and stimulate engineering entrepreneurship which will create the new high wage-high skilled jobs of the future. 

Juergen Maier and Donna Edwards, Made Smarter

Juergen Maier (L), CEO, Siemens UK and co-chair of Made Smarter, with Donna Edwards, director of the North West Made Smarter pilot

The first competition of the Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge, which is administered through the governmentIndustrial Strategy Challenge Fund, opened on 22 July and focuses on projects that are ready for a fast start and have the potential for rapid impact. 

Former Business Secretary Greg Clark said: 

We want to support companies of all sizes who want to develop new digital capabilities, and will support projects that will help ensure the UK remains at the forefront of technological developments. 

Through Made Smarter and our modern Industrial Strategy we are committed to making sure manufacturers are best placed to take advantage of the opportunities being created by industrial digitalisation and help our leading advanced manufacturing sector continue to grow. 

Manufacturers in the North West can also benefit from the Made Smarter pilot programme, a unique support scheme which is already helping companies across the region to adopt digital technology. 

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