£7 million in government funding is available for research and development into additive manufacturing, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts has announced.
Grants for R&D projects in additive manufacturing will be awarded through an open competition to be managed by the Technology Strategy Board, the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills says that 3D printing technologies have great potential for UK businesses by providing radically different manufacturing techniques that can be applied across global market sectors from aerospace to jewellery.
“We believe this new investment will help UK companies make the step change necessary to reach new markets and gain competitive advantage,” said science minister David Willetts. “Building on £20 million of previous Technology Strategy Board support for additive manufacturing innovation, it will help secure more of this game-changing high value activity for the UK to help drive economic growth.”
Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said he was pleased that the initiative was supported by three research councils.
“By working together to stimulate innovation in this exciting and challenging area, we aim to accelerate the transition from fundamental research to the creation of new design, production and supply chain competences, capitalising on work we have previously funded. We want to make the UK a world leader in 3D printing. We are setting our sights high.”
The Inspiring New Design Freedoms in Additive Manufacturing competition is focused on helping companies bring components and consumer goods made by additive manufacturing techniques to market more quickly.
It aims to help UK companies accelerate their adoption of additive manufacturing technologies, overcome remaining technical barriers and explore new business models.
The competition will open on December 3, 2012 and further information will be available at the end of October.
For more information on the awarding bodies, see:
Technology Strategy Board – www.innovateuk.org, Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council – www.epsrc.ac.uk, Arts and Humanities Research Council – www.ahrc.ac.uk and Economic and Social Research Council – www.esrc.ac.uk.