A bid has been submitted to secure £20 million from the Government to fund a new advanced manufacturing research centre in Derby.
City leaders have lodged a bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for the cash to create a permanent home for the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) on Infinity Park.
Nuclear AMRC is an organisation that helps companies develop new techniques and processes to win work in the nuclear sector and tackle manufacturing challenges in automotive, rail, aerospace, renewable energy and other high-value sectors.
For the past 18 months, it has been based within the iHub on Infinity Park. But the latest plans would create a permanent base, creating 70 jobs in the process.
The new centre would also become a base for the University of Derby’s Institute of 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.
The bid is being supported by Derby City Council, the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, the University of Derby and Nuclear AMRC.
Nuclear AMRC is part of the Government-supported High-Value Manufacturing Catapult, which bridges the gap between industry and academia to bring innovative ideas into commercial reality.
Since setting up a pilot operation at the iHub in February last year, it has worked on projects with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Sellafield nuclear plant and has collaborated with East Midlands universities on renewable energy and decarbonising transport initiatives.
Andrew Storer, chief executive at Nuclear AMRC, said: “Derby already has a base in civil nuclear through Rolls-Royce, with whom we work as part of the UK small modular reactor consortium.
“We are anticipating increased investment into clean energy and low-carbon technologies, which can play a significant role in helping the city and region rebound from the pandemic slowdown and deliver sustainable growth for decades to come.
“We have initiatives in place to support the wider supply chain and help them capitalise on opportunity.
“We also hope to support diversification in sectors such as aerospace and automot The university’s IISE has built a successful track record of delivering projects to businesses, both regionally and nationally, and has also established a number of strategic partnerships with institutions across Europe, the US and Asia.
It offers research, innovation, technical expertise and project support in advanced manufacturing, computational modelling of materials and structures, novel materials and life cycle management and data science
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 who want to reduce their carbon emissions in operations, production and supply chain.
Professor Warren Manning, provost (innovation and research) at the University of Derby, said: “From the university’s perspective, this presents an exciting potential opportunity.
“The new base would provide the space for greater collaboration between IISE and Nuclear AMRC and possible co-location there too.”
The project is viewed as a key part of the city’s post-coronavirus economic recovery strategy and would provide businesses with access to cutting edge research and development facilities to help them diversify, grow and create new jobs.
Councillor Matthew Holmes, the city council’s deputy leader, said: “Derby has been a world leader in innovation for the past 300 years.
“We want to ensure that our businesses are well-placed to benefit from the development of new processes and particularly new, clean technologies that will help the UK achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”