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New funding for North of England robotics centre

The University of Salford’s much-anticipated North of England Robotics Innovation Centre has been awarded £3.6m in a bid to accelerate innovation and research in the fast-moving world of robotics.

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The construction of the new centre, which will house cutting-edge robotics, manufacturing labs and teaching space, was first announced last year.

Facilities will also be made available for academic specialists to help SMEs with robotics and automation technologies.

The centre had already been backed with £13 million, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), but has now also been awarded new funding from Research England.

Georgina Harris, Director of Engineering at the University of Salford, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded this Research England Development funding reaffirming our reputation for knowledge and expertise in robotics and automation. The award will support us with the recruitment of robotics specialists, invest in specialist facilities for the centre and enable us to play a pivotal role in the technology transfer from innovative research to industrial deployment.

“The North of England Robotics Innovation Centre is a model example of collaboration. Its creation is timely, taking place when the need for innovation in robotics and automation has never been more important to support the recovery of UK industry from the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The new centre will provide SMEs with a hub where they can access world-leading academics, where they can work collaboratively to develop innovative solutions and where they can test and validate these technologies in preparation for real-world deployment.”

Construction of the centre began at the start of the year and is due for completion in summer 2022.

There are currently over 20,000 industrial robots in operation around the UK. According to the International Federation of Robotics, COVID-19 and the UK’s departure from the EU are expected to increase the pace of robotics uptake in the long-term.

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