First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, visited TWI Technology Centre in Port Talbot this week to announce EU funding in support of a new research institute for advanced engineering.
The First Minister was there to announce an EU investment of £7.5m to kickstart the construction of new, advanced engineering laboratories at Harbourside Business Park.
The EU funding award will be matched by industry support and underwritten by TWI to create a total project fund of £19.5m for the development of the new Advanced Engineering Materials Research Institute (AEMRI).
AEMRI will be a unique facility in Wales for structural testing and evaluation, supporting cutting-edge industrial research with partners in sectors including aerospace; automotive; electronics, and nuclear and renewable energy.
The site is expected to create 16 highly skilled jobs, as well as training 20 PhD students and providing business growth opportunities for Welsh engineering and manufacturing businesses through access to its testing facilities.
Jones began his visit to TWI’s Welsh base with a guided tour of the organisation’s existing technology centre, learning more about robotic, ultrasonic and X-ray inspection techniques and how they are used by industry.
He commented: “EU funds for this new facility will result in more collaborative modern research and development taking place in Wales, and will generate significant inward investment through major industrial partnerships.
“I am delighted that we’ve been able to support this expansion. It’s excellent news for our advanced engineering sector and will put Wales at the forefront of innovation in engineering during the coming years.
“I am pleased we can bring business growth and new highly skilled jobs to Port Talbot after the severe blow to the community last week. We are a pro-business government, and continue to work closely with companies to create growth and jobs in every part of Wales.”
The scheme has received backing from a range of global manufacturing companies and will generate more than £12m of inward investment within the next seven years through industry collaborations targeting companies such as Rolls-Royce, Boeing and Siemens.
Chief Executive of TWI , Christoph Wiesner said: “AEMRI will be a first for Wales, providing the region with open access to state-of-the art technical research facilities and equipment.
“It will be a hub for industry to research, validate and test exciting new processes such as additive manufacture for critical structures, and to investigate the use of advanced materials such as composites or metal matrix products for novel applications.”