Technology Strategy Board

Technology Strategy Board (3)

Innovation in additive manufacturing technologies, which have the potential to change the face of manufacturing across the globe, is to be boosted through £7 million of new Government investment in research and development, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts announced today.

Grants for collaborative R&D projects in additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, 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.

David Willetts said:
“3D printing technologies offer huge potential for UK businesses to compete successfully by embracing radically different manufacturing techniques that could be applied across a wide variety of 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. 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, driving economic growth and enhancing quality of life.”

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, added:
“We are delighted that this important initiative is 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 mainly on innovations to help businesses bring components and consumer items made by additive manufacturing more quickly to market. It aims to help innovative UK companies take the next steps to accelerating the 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.

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The Technology Strategy Board announced the first Technology and Innovation Centre in high value manufacturing (HVM) open for business. The Board will be investing £140 million over a six year period which will stimulate manufacturing in the UK, reduce the risk of innovation for new and established UK manufacturing businesses and attract international business to the UK.

The Technology and Innovation Centre initiative is part of the Government’s plan to grow the UK economy. The new centre in high value manufacturing will be the first of at least six Technology and Innovation Centres to be established by April 2013.

The Centre will capitalise on existing expertise and facilities established in the UK, bringing together seven institutions of excellence to better support UK manufacturing. The seven centres are:

·Advanced Forming Research Centre (University of Strathclyde)

·Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (University of Sheffield)

·Centre for Process Innovation (Wilton & Sedgefield)

·Manufacturing Technology Centre (Coventry)

·National Composites Centre (University of Bristol)

·Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (University of Manchester and Sheffield)?

·Warwick Manufacturing Group (University of Warwick)

By incorporating the seven institutions, the HVM Technology and Innovation Centre will support a number of different industries including pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, food & beverages, healthcare, aerospace, automotive, energy, chemicals and electronics.

The HVM Technology and Innovation Centre will commercialise business-led research and innovation that will help UK manufacturing businesses become more competitive on a world stage. As well as receiving funding from the Technology Strategy Board, direct contracts with UK business will form a significant part of the overall funding for the centre (1/3). The Centre will also be well positioned to secure funding from competitive Research and Development (R&D) grants (1/3), including EU funding.

Iain Gray the Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said:

“High value manufacturing is a priority for the Technology Strategy Board. The future of manufacturing in the UK needs to be high value, delivering strong financial performance, strategic importance, and positive social impact.  The UK has some of the best manufacturing businesses in the world, the industry accounts for 12 per cent of GDP, around half of exports and in 2010 employed 2.5 million people in the UK. The new centre will help UK businesses stay at the leading edge of manufacturing technology and create and protect jobs long into the future”.

Secretary of State, Vince Cable said: “Manufacturing has a key role to play in economic growth and rebalancing the economy, in particular driving exports and productivity.

"The Government is supporting manufacturing through a modern industrial strategy fit for the 21st century. We are assisting manufacturing companies and their supply chains directly through the Regional Growth Fund and other schemes and supporting them to build strong businesses via our commitments to apprenticeships and fostering technology.

"We are also challenging the perceptions of what it is like to work in manufacturing and seeking to raise the status and profile of engineering.But we know there is always more to do. We will set out further proposals to support manufacturing over the next few weeks."

Peter Chivers, Chief Executive of the National Composites Centre said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for UK businesses in manufacturing. The new HVM Technology and Innovation Centre will become the go-to place for innovation in the UK manufacturing.  Using the facilities and expertise from the seven institutions, the new centre will provide a compelling advantage for UK manufacturing. We have already received strong interest from UK businesses to use the service and will be working collaboratively with UK manufacturing businesses from today.”

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Managed by the Technology Strategy Board, the Grant for Research and Development scheme, which comes into effect from 4 April 2011, will support small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) across the UK that want to carry out research and development generating new and innovative products and services. The new scheme supersedes the Grant for R&D scheme previously managed by England’s regional development agencies and will have similar objectives.

Speaking about the importance of innovation by small businesses for future economic growth the Technology Strategy Board’s Chief Executive, Iain Gray, said:

”Innovative small companies are vital to the UK’s economic future. Nearly two-thirds of all commercial innovations originate in small companies and we need to nurture and encourage this vital source of exciting new innovations.

“Small companies may under-invest in innovation because of the high degree of risk and uncertainty around both the development and commercial exploitation of new ideas. Offering partial funding through this initiative should help many innovative small businesses to overcome this barrier and to invest in innovation, helping to generate future business success.”

The Grant for Research and Development scheme will offer SMEs three types of grant:

*     Proof-of-market grants will enable companies to assess commercial viability through, for example, market research, market testing and initial planning;
*     Proof-of-concept grants will help companies to explore the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a new technology, product or process through, for example, a feasibility study, basic prototyping and specialist testing;
*     Development of prototype grants will be used by companies to develop a technologically innovative product, service or industrial process. This might include small demonstrators, intellectual property protection, market testing and product design.

The maximum funding available will be £25,000 for proof-of-market grants, £100,000 for proof-of-concept grants and £250,000 for development of prototype grants.

Further information about the Grant for Research and Development scheme will be available on the Technology Strategy Board website,, from 4 April 2011.

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