Sunderland University's £5million-plus boost for North East manufacturing

Sunderland University has launched a £5million-plus drive to help North East business.

Friday, 25th May 2018, 5:02 pm
Updated Friday, 25th May 2018, 5:09 pm
(from left) Claire Defty, Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Project Manager; Roger OBrien, Director of AMAP; Prof Elaheh Ghassemieh, Research lead on the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing project

The university has secured £5.1m to deliver its Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing project, which will help the region’s manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to be more productive and sustainable by finding solutions to their research, innovation and development problems and helping to develop products, processes and technology.

The funding is made up of £2.6million from the European Regional Development Fund, with additional contributions from industry and the University.

The project will work closely with companies to establish where innovation is most urgently needed; develop new products to open up national supply chains and export markets; address key process problems through collaboration with larger regional companies; connecting businesses to specialist staff and academic, and provide networks, infrastructure and shared facilities to improve collaboration.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The project will have a significant focus on sustainability and digital manufacturing and will provide access to the University’s facilities and expertise, as well as a range of academic, research and technical networks.

University Vice-Chancellor Shirley Atkinson said: "Through the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing project, our university’s highly-experienced engineering team will support SMEs with research and help to develop solutions to the challenges and barriers they face.

"This project is the next step towards realising our ambition to be the North East’s lead university for Advanced Manufacturing and we’re excited to get started on unlocking the region’s latent growth potential.

"By placing our university at the forefront of SME research and development, we will not only enable these businesses to grow and unlock opportunities, we will also help improve the sector’s productivity and sustainability as well as create opportunities for our students and graduates.

"The University is now adding to its excellent team of staff involved in applied research in the Faculty of Technology to ensure we are best able to support our industry partners. Maximizing the benefit of innovations in the automotive, engineering and computing sectors to ensure the region remains competitive and world leading, is key to our future plans.”

Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Project Manager Claire Defty added: "My role is to engage with the North East LEP area’s SMEs and encourage them to apply for grants and work with the university to develop solutions and research that will help to move their business to the next level.

"With colleagues in the School of Engineering and at The Institute for Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP) on board we have a ‘best in class’ research team on hand. We’re looking forward to supporting SMEs with overcoming blocks to growth that they are facing, whether that’s in automation, additive or digital manufacturing, Industry 4.0 or joining / assembly processes.

"My message is simple – get in touch, we have funding and expertise you can access to help you develop your manufacturing business."