A linchpin for the future of manufacturing in Scotland

Posted on 10 Feb 2021 by Jonny Williamson

By bringing together a group of industry-led manufacturing R&D facilities, the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland seeks to fundamentally change how companies harness the technology and innovation to drive growth.

The £75m National Manufacturing Institute Scotland aims to make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing by providing cutting-edge facilities for industry, academia and the public sector to collaborate on innovative research and development.

Its goal is to transform productivity levels, make companies more competitive and boost the skills of the current and future workforce.

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland - manufacturing in Scotland - Aims and Objectives

NMIS is operated by the University of Strathclyde and supported by Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council and Renfrewshire Council.

The NMIS facility is supported by a number of specialist technology centres, including a fully digitalised ‘Factory of the Future’, a Manufacturing Skills Academy and a Collaboration Hub, alongside the already open Lightweight Manufacturing Centre and Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre – the only High Value Manufacturing Catapult centre in Scotland [which you can read more about here].

Having such a broad footprint means NMIS sits at the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) being developed by Renfrewshire Council, in partnership with Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.

The 52-hectare district next to Glasgow Airport is also home to the first-of-its-kind Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, which is due for completion in late 2021 and operational in early 2022.


Following several weeks of ground stabilisation activities and bulk earthworks, construction on the flagship institute began in earnest in December 2020 with work on the foundations commencing.

The team is also avoiding the most polluting materials such as concrete and other quarried aggregates, as well as the use of materials that are manufactured overseas (where possible).

National Manufacturing Institute Scotland NMIS - Construction Begins

CEO of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, John Reid, commented; “Construction starting and the foundations being laid are major milestones in the ongoing development of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland Group.

“[2020] has been a challenging year for many in the manufacturing sector, but for some it has also brought real opportunity. As we look to the future, taking into account the climate emergency and Brexit, as well as the recovery from the pandemic, as a sector it is certain that we will face many more challenges but also, more opportunities will be there for the taking.

“The continual growth of NMIS will ensure manufacturers in Scotland and beyond are able to access the latest technologies and expertise that will help de-risk their innovation efforts and boost the skills of the manufacturing workforce of today and tomorrow. This will enable businesses to make the most of all future opportunities, creating a bigger, stronger and more sustainable manufacturing sector.”

Major alliances take off

Already, NMIS has made a number of announcements, including becoming the first UK member of a new global trade group to advance sustainability in additive manufacturing and leasing a site for its £11.8m R&D programme with Boeing.

The unit at Westway Park in Renfrew is due to be completely refurbished to accommodate personnel and state-of-the-art advanced engineering equipment to be used in projects with other manufacturing businesses.

National Manufacturing Institute Scotland NMIS - Artist Impression

The programme aims to demonstrate innovative manufacturing processes and technologies related to metallic components, building upon research previously conducted at the AFRC. Through these technologies and building capability in others, the team will be investigating reducing material wastage, possibilities to improve safety, productivity and environmental impact.

The programme comes as the result of the University of Strathclyde and the AFRC building a successful relationship with Boeing over a number of decades, with the aerospace giant being one of the founding members of the specialist technology centre.

This is one of the initial actions to come from the Boeing Scotland Alliance, which was announced in March 2020 and set up for Boeing and Scottish Enterprise to explore further opportunities to work together, with the aim of doubling Boeing’s in-country supply chain.

This could potentially be worth tens of millions of pounds to the Scottish economy and could see up to 200 new high-skilled jobs created over the next five years.

More information www.nmis.scot

*All images courtesy of NMIS