The research and innovation assets and expertise based at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) are driving regional economic growth and cementing the Sheffield City Region as a place of innovation.
Since its foundation in 2001, the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has grown a global reputation as a model for successful collaborative research involving universities and industry to accelerate the adoption of new technology.
Located on a once brownfield site, the global success of the AMRC and the partnership approach of the University with key economic anchors such as the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and Sheffield and Rotherham councils, has led to global aerospace and automotive brands choosing to locate key aspects of their production processes here in the region.
Supercar manufacturer, McLaren Automotive, is on-shoring its carbon body production from Eastern Europe to Rotherham on to land which more than a decade ago developers would have dismissed. Today the same land tells a different story as the area attracts not just international organisations like McLaren but the SMEs and supply chain companies who complete the innovation ecosystem.
“The purpose-built £100m production plant will bring an additional 200 jobs to an area which is fast becoming the hub of the region’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District.”
For McLaren Automotive’s Chief Executive Officer, Mike Flewitt, it is the research and innovation assets in the AMRC that were key to their decision to on-shore. “We evaluated several options, but the opportunity created by the AMRC at the University of Sheffield was compelling. We will have access to some of the world’s finest composites and materials research capabilities, and I look forward to building a world-class facility and talented team at the new McLaren Composites Technology Centre.”
Within months of the McLaren announcement it was the turn of Boeing – a founding partner of the AMRC – to announce that it too would be building a production plant close to the researchers who were revolutionising the production of key components of its latest generation of aircraft. The new 6,200-square metre Boeing Sheffield facility, the first of its kind in Europe, will manufacture actuation system components for Boeing’s Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX and 777 aeroplanes – enhancing production efficiency and reducing costs whilst maintaining quality.
Like McLaren, Boeing is also using the AMRC’s Training Centre to build a new workforce of highly skilled apprentcies for the new facilities. “These developments mark a step change in the perception of the Sheffield City Region as the go-to-place for the world’s most advanced manufacturing companies,” said Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean and co-founder of the AMRC. “We are proving that we have the research and innovation assets, combined with skilled and talented young apprentices committed to careers in engineering, to bring the very best manufacturing companies in the world to the Sheffield City Region. The transformation of what was once a post-industrial wasteland into a global hub of research and innovation is a model for how to create a renaissance in UK manufacturing.
This article first appeared in the 2018 State of the Relationship report, commissioned by Research England and compiled and published by NCUB.