Construction begins on £20m research centre

Work has begun on-site at the £20m applied research centre at Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone which will help the county become a leader in manufacturing innovation and sustainable economic growth.

The project is led by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) North West and is being built using a £20m grant from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal.

Currently operating from an interim facility provided by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the centre of Preston, the AMRC North West team’s permanent new home will be a gateway development on the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone which is part of the wider Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster.

The technical R&D team at AMRC North West has already supported more than 100 SMEs in the first year. AMRC has also secured £10m funding to explore 5G and the potential of industrial digitalisation to improve the performance of manufacturers across the North of England.

Luke Hall, minister of state for regional growth and local government, said: "This project will place Lancashire as a leader in innovation-driven, sustainable economic growth and will act as a catalyst for further inward investment.

"It will also support the creation of highly skilled jobs, bringing opportunities and prosperity to the local community."

Melissa Conlon, commercial director for AMRC North West, said: "Our new facility will help accelerate manufacturing growth, supporting the supply chains in the region to drive up productivity and attract inward investment to create a sustainable future for advanced manufacturing in the North West.

"We have already worked with more than 100 Lancashire SMEs to accelerate their adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies to improve performance and quality and ensure that they are able to compete in the global economy."

Steve Fogg, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: "We are confident in the AMRC's ability to drive growth and increase productivity to ensure Lancashire remains at the forefront of innovative and cutting-edge technologies. Not only is the LEP confident that the AMRC can deliver a step-change to how our businesses operate, the fact that they have decided to locate in Lancashire is testament to Lancashire's strong manufacturing and innovative heritage."

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