£173m government package funds manufacturing research

Posted on 11 Oct 2011 by The Manufacturer

Technology Strategy Board’s £18m R&D competition and £15m low emission vehicles competition joins high value technology centre in big government funding push for industry.

UK manufacturing became the darling of the economy again in the Government’s eyes today, as the sector received a boost of over £170 million in a government-funded support package.

A high value manufacturing technology and innovation centre will receive over £140 million over a six year period and was opened today (see earlier coverage on TM.com).

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will run a competition of nearly £18 million, Technology Inspired Innovation, to fund products inspired by new discoveries and breakthroughs, such as advanced materials, biosciences and nanoscale technologies.

The TSB and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) will also ru a £15 million competition for investment into the research and development of low carbon vehicles.

See Inside Manufacturing is a nationwide programme of factory visits, opened today to help feed manufacturers with the skilled labour they need to remain competitive (see previous coverage). It is being piloted by companies in the automotive sector, with around 100 events being held across the UK through October.

Companies in the sector are opening their doors to students and young people to help change the perception of careers in the sector and to attract the next generation of engineers and technicians. To kick-off the latest stage of the campaign, Vince Cable visited the Vauxhall plant in Luton.

“The Government is supporting manufacturing through a modern industrial strategy fit for the 21st century,” Business Secretary Vince Cable said at the TSB’s Innovate11 event in London today.

“We are assisting manufacturing companies and their supply chains directly through the Regional Growth Fund and other schemes and supporting them to build strong businesses via our commitments to apprenticeships and fostering technology.

The CBI’s Head of Innovation, Science and Technology Dr Tim Bradshaw said: “The Government’s progress in rolling out Technology and Innovation Centres, and in particular the commitment to fund the manufacturing TIC for six years, is good news.

“This will secure its future well beyond the current spending review period and should give business the confidence to collaborate with some of our leading manufacturing research centres.”

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “Manufacturing is a priority sector for the Technology Strategy Board to support with a technology and innovation centre. The UK has some of the world’s best manufacturing businesses and the industry accounts for 12 per cent of GDP, around half of exports and in 2010 employed 2.5 million people in the UK. The new centre will help UK businesses stay at the leading edge of manufacturing technology nd create and protect jobs long into the future”.