£35m Engineering Innovation Centre to drive Lancashire‘s industrial strategy

An advanced teaching and research facility which engages directly with industry and provides students with real-world experience on live, engineering-related projects has been officially launched at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Based at the University’s Preston campus, the new Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) will act as one of the driving forces behind the Lancashire Industrial Strategy, addressing the need for innovation and producing the next-generation of talented engineers.

Additive Manufacturing Lab - image courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Additive Manufacturing Lab – image courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).


Cutting-edge research and teaching facilities include: an additive manufacturing lab; an advanced manufacturing workshop; an intelligent systems facility; a motorsports and air vehicles lab; a high-performance computing lab; a flight simulator suite, and a fire, oil and gas facility.

The EIC is reportedly the largest single investment in Lancashire’s educational infrastructure to date, establishing UCLan as one of the UK’s leading universities for engineering innovation.

Lancashire is described by the University as being “the country’s number one region for aerospace production and advanced manufacturing”.

Through courses shaped by industry demand and continuous collaboration, the Centre aims to improve productivity across the North West, helping to support the innovation needs of 1,300 regional small and medium-sized businesses now and in the future.

High-Performance Computing Lab - image courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

High-Performance Computing Lab – image courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).


One teenager from Lancashire has already experienced how the EIC is helping to turn life changing ideas into reality.

Burnley-based Krystyna Marshall, 16, invented the designs for an exoskeleton to support a young family member with a life-altering spinal condition. 

Working in collaboration with Krystyna, the University EIC team of academic staff and students have turned the exoskeleton designs into reality. 

The cost-effective 3D printed version of the exoskeleton is now being used as a proof of concept and could be developed for NHS use in the future. 

Working on the Exo-Skeleton project in the Additive Manufacturing Lab - image courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Working on the Exo-Skeleton project in the Additive Manufacturing Lab – image courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Identified as a signature project within Lancashire’s Strategic Economic Plan, the EIC secured £10.5m worth of funding via the Lancashire Enterprise Partnerships’ Growth Deal with the government. The new facility has also received £5.8m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £5m from HEFCE’s STEM Capital Fund.

David Taylor, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board, said: “The EIC is not only a significant asset to the University but also the county, wider region and the UK.

“It will act as one of the driving forces behind the industrial strategy both on a regional and national scale while cementing Lancashire’s position as a national centre of excellence for aerospace, advanced engineering and manufacturing.”

Motorsports and Air Vehicle Lab - image courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Motorsports and Air Vehicle Lab – image courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).


Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry MP, commented: “The advances made and skills learned at this pioneering facility will have far-reaching benefits from equipping young people for well paid, highly skilled jobs to technological advances supporting manufacturing businesses throughout the North and around the world.”

UCLan’s time lapse cameras captured the new Engineering Innovation Centre taking shape over the past two years… watch it being built from start to finish 🎥 👇