Plans to create a new manufacturing and innovation centre at the heart of the mammoth new £400million International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) business park have been given a major boost.
The team behind the Centre for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CeSAM), a crucial element of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park being built on the Sunderland/South Tyneside border, have been given the green light to bid for £33million to make the vision a reality.
The role of CeSAM is to ensure manufacturing businesses in the North East are at the forefront of manufacturing technology and processes, providing the "catalyst for manufacturing productivity improvement across the North East", fostering world-class innovation, developments and learning.
The £33million would come from the Strength in Places fund, and the CeSAM team have now been given the nod to apply by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The consortium behind the plans includes the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) and key industry partners, Sunderland City Council, the University of Sunderland and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.
Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, speaking on behalf of the consortium said: "We're delighted the partnership behind CeSAM has been successful getting through to the second round of funding for this pioneering project.
"CeSAM is a critical component of the North East's plans to create more and better jobs through innovation-led growth in smart and sustainable advanced manufacturing.
"The partners involved in the project have put a lot of hard work into developing it to this point. As a partnership, all our efforts are now focused on doing everything needed to move successfully to the next stage with UKRI – bringing in key industry and academic partners - to deliver this world class open innovation centre on IAMP."
A planning application was submitted for the building that will house CeSAM earlier this month.
It will occupy a 126,279 sq ft site on IAMP - a 150-hectare ‘nationally significant’ hub, that is being delivered in a joint venture between Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council, with Henry Boot Developments (HBD) appointed as delivery partner.
Paul Butler, chief executive of the NEAA, added: "CeSAM would ensure manufacturing businesses in the region are at the forefront of manufacturing technology and processes. This is a fantastic opportunity for us as a partnership to strengthen the competitiveness of our sector and the region."
What is the Strength in Places Fund
The Strength in Places Fund will target innovation and investment in research and development (R&D) at a specific place.
Investment in R&D is lower in the North East than in other areas.
Announced in the modern Industrial Strategy in November 2017, the Strength in Places Fund will benefit all nations and regions of the UK by allowing and helping them to tap into the world-class research and innovation capability that is spread right across the country.
The fund brings together research organisations, businesses, and local leadership on projects that will deliver significant economic impact, high-value job creation and regional growth.
What is CeSAM?
The Centre for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CeSAM) is a transformational regional investment that forms a critical component of North East England's plans to create 'more and better jobs' through innovation-led growth in smart and sustainable advanced manufacturing.
Advanced manufacturing growth is one of four areas of strategic importance within the North East England's Strategic Economic Plan and at the heart of Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council's Economic Master Plans.
CeSAM specifically tackles the difficulties associated with introducing digital and manufacturing innovations across multiple markets and their supply chains.
* will work with companies, their suppliers and customers to develop, scale-up, trial, test and prove technologies to industrial standard;
* plans to include a full-scale moving production line;
* will address an unmet industry need for innovation support in emerging technologies;
* will have a direct economic impact, enhancing the region's capacity to innovate;
* will support a significant increase of UK content within the region's advanced manufacturing sector.
There is no similar facility in the UK.