Boost for UK High Value Manufacturing with Additional Government Support Announced

09 December 2014

Chancellor George Osborne has announced additional government support for the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, to help manufacturing businesses turn their good ideas into viable commercial applications which can be produced in the UK.

According to the UK National Composites Centre (NCC), the High Value Manufacturing Catapult comprises seven elite technology and innovation centres throughout the country. It explains this announcement means £61m additional government investment will be made to provide the High Value Manufacturing Catapult with the capability to reach out to a wider reach of manufacturing sectors and to engage more Smaller and Medium sized manufacturing businesses.

In addition, the Chancellor announced £28m investment for the creation of a National Formulation Centre within the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s Centre for Process Innovation in the North East of England. The centre is expected to develop a globally unique capability that will develop and deliver the next generation of formulated products across a wide range of markets, such as food, pharmaceuticals, coatings, oil, lubricants and FMCG. It will help to increase the UK’s share of a growing global market by accelerating product and process innovation. 

Peter Chivers, CEO at the National Composites Centre, said “This is excellent news and particularly timely for the National Composites Centre (NCC). Just a month ago the NCC formally opened a BIS funded £28m extension to increase our capacity to support the UK Composites Industry. Since its start-up 3 years ago, NCC activity in accelerating innovation for UK business has grown rapidly due to extremely strong industrial demand, supported by new capability investments funded by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

The extended NCC facilities provide new capacity to address the needs of high rate composite manufacturing for the automotive industry and others;  better meet the needs of SME's; increase integration with universities and to start delivering training courses. The additional Catapult funds will be used to invest in the new equipment and capabilities to further accelerate the NCC's offering in all these areas. The investment priorities will be guided by  the Composite Leadership Forum’s 2014 UK Composites Strategy  report, ‘Lightening the Load’, which was initially briefed at the NCC ‘Building the Future for Composites’ Opening Event."

Dick Elsy, Chief Executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said “This is an extremely welcome announcement, which sends a key message to manufacturing businesses in the UK.

UK Government takes manufacturing very seriously and recognises the importance of strategic long term investment. Many of our competitor countries have a longer tradition of investing in applied R&D in manufacturing. Yet, in our 3 years of existence, we have developed such a strong track record, that many overseas governments now use us as a benchmark of success.”

In 2013/14, we undertook 1,012 projects which involved 1,515 private sector companies. A number of these  are large global manufacturers, but we have also engaged with over 1,500 SMEs in that period.”

This additional investment will enable us to build on the advantage we have already created. In particular, it will allow us to work with more small and medium sized businesses, helping them to enter or grow in the supply chains and helping them thrive and produce in this country. In addition, we can broaden our work with sectors which have hitherto not worked intensely with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, such as food manufacturing.”

Bob Gilbert, Chair of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said “We have been set the challenge by government to generate our income from three sources in equal measure. UK Government’s core funding from Innovate UK, competitively won R&D projects which often contain a mix of funding, and straight income from commercial industry clients.”

Also, in 2013/14, we significantly over-delivered against the funding model, with 45% of our income coming from Industry. That is solid evidence that we deliver what UK industry wants and needs, and companies are willing to pay for the quality they receive. Our services take some of the risk out of innovation, thus encouraging businesses to stay at the cutting edge for the benefit of the UK economy. “

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, said “The extra core funding and capital investment announced today by the Chancellor for the High Value Manufacturing Catapult is a significant endorsement of the contribution Catapults are making to growth in the UK. As the first Catapult to be established, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult has been successfully running at capacity – the additional core funding will allow it to deepen its engagement with business, particularly small businesses. This additional funding, coupled to the establishment of a new National Formulation Centre, will enhance its capacity to be at the forefront of technological innovation and provide the very best facilities and expertise in cutting-edge manufacturing.”

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable said “This multi-million pound investment in the High Value Manufacturing Catapult will drive innovation and growth across our manufacturing sector where the UK is a world-leader. It will safeguard the UK supply chain, and allow us to capitalise on the huge potential of the UK’s research and development capabilities. This will keep our UK businesses ahead of the game.

Through the UK government’s industrial strategy we are future-proofing our manufacturing sector in bringing new innovations to market. We are providing the right environment to give businesses the confidence to invest and create high skilled jobs”. 

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