The Nuclear AMRC’s proposal to establish a new advanced manufacturing research centre in Derby has secured government funding.
The proposal, supported by Derby City Council and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, has been awarded £6.85 million by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.
Local partners will also invest in the proposed £20 million project to create a new permanent home on Derby’s Infinity Park for Nuclear AMRC Midlands, creating 70 jobs and helping to reboot the local economy after the coronavirus crisis.
“We’re delighted to have received government support for our manufacturing research centre on Infinity Park, and look forward to continuing our work with Derby City Council, regional universities and businesses to deliver jobs and support the economic recovery of the region,” said Dr Emma Kelly, Nuclear AMRC Strategy Director.
The investment follows a successful pilot project over the past 18 months, with the growing Nuclear AMRC Midlands team operating from workshops and offices within the iHub facility on Infinity Park – the first High Value Manufacturing Catapult facility in the East Midlands region.
The team have developed new capabilities in technology areas including controls and instrumentation, digital engineering and additive manufacturing, and worked with companies of all sizes to help them innovate and win work.
The new facility, with around 5,000 square metres of floorspace, will further extend the Nuclear AMRC’s ability to help manufacturers develop and adopt innovative technologies which will deliver the maximum impact for the UK’s nuclear supply chain.
“Nuclear generation is a vital part of the energy mix for clean electricity and meeting the UK’s net zero commitment,” Kelly said. “We will work alongside regional industrial partners to ensure a suitably qualified supply chain that is able to capitalise on advanced nuclear technologies within the clean energy sector.”
The facility will also be a base for the University of Derby’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE), which has developed an international reputation for innovation in design, manufacturing, product lifecycle management and the application of new and smart materials.
IISE includes a Rail Research and Innovation Centre to support collaborative research and innovation projects with local rail supply chains. It also leads the DE-Carbonise Project, offering comprehensive support to SMEs which want to reduce their carbon emissions in operations, production and supply chain.
The project is viewed as a key part of Derby’s post-Covid economic recovery strategy, and will provide businesses with access to cutting edge research and development facilities to help them diversify, grow and create new jobs.
The government funding comes from the Getting Building Fund, which is investing £900 million in shovel-ready infrastructure and housing projects across England. The D2N2 region, which covers Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, has secured a total of £44.4 million for projects including a high-tech food manufacturing campus in Derby, a 5G innovation hub in Worksop, and a digital advanced manufacturing and engineering centre in Chesterfield.
“This will provide a major stimulus for our communities across the region,” said David Williams, interim chair of D2N2. “We believe the size of the allocation demonstrates a belief in what the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership can deliver and a testament to the collaborative working between the LEP and its partners.”
Derby City Council leader Chris Poulter said the funding was a vote of confidence in the city’s economic recovery strategy.
“Throughout the past four months we have been doing all we can to support existing businesses but also looking at opportunities for the future – to diversify our economy, to improve our environmental credentials and to make Derby a brilliant place to live and work,” Poulter said. “Today’s announcement is a massive boost for those plans and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver these fantastic new projects.”