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Interventionism is suddenly all the rage with the Westminster Conservative government, and higher education is feeling the impact as new policies and legislation are brought to bear on the sector, writes Johnny Rich, Chief Executive of Push and of the Engineering Professors’ Council.
The University of Sheffield is to play a key role in the UK’s new Future Manufacturing Hubs, announced by the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson.
The announcement confirmed a £10million investment from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the University of Sheffield to lead the Manufacture using Advanced Powder Processes (MAPP) Hub.
It is one of six hubs that will draw together expertise from 17 universities and 200 industrial and academic partners to explore and improve new manufacturing techniques across fields such as targeted biological medicines, 3D printing, and composite materials. The hubs will be led by the universities of Cardiff, Huddersfield, Nottingham, Sheffield, Strathclyde and University College London.
MAPP, which will be part of the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Materials Research, will focus on developing new powder-based manufacturing processes that provide low energy, low cost and low waste manufacturing routes and products for UK industry, and is expected to play a crucial role in unlocking the potential to use advanced powders in manufacturing processes.
It will be led by Professor Iain Todd from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Speaking about the announcement, he said: “There is a huge potential for manufacturing usingadvanced powders, however the industrial application of many processes is being held back by some fundamental science and engineering challenges, and they are not realising their potential. Our vision is to ensure that these game changing technologies deliver on their promise for UK industry.”
The University of Sheffield has also been named as a key partner in three additional Future Manufacturing Hubs - Advanced Metrology, Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation and Compound Semiconductors. It cements Sheffield’s role in leading advanced manufacturing research in the UK - from developments in fundamental and underpinning science, throughto translational research with industry partners.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Sir Keith Burnett, said: “This investment recognises the vital role new technologies play in the security and growth of our high-value manufacturing sector - which must be a key component in the UK’s industrial strategy.
“Around the world, nations are determined to invest in next generation manufacturing and innovation. In the UK, Government is focusing on Industrial Strategy. This announcement is important because it shows how companies can become more productive and globally competitive by integrating the latest research into manufacturing processes.
"The future of the UK economy and the creation of wealth, jobs and opportunity will depend upon the UK ensuring that research in universities is working hand in hand with industry. I am extremely proud that TheUniversity of Sheffield is an international leader in this vital work."
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