Saturday, October 24, 2020

New Industrial Policy and Insight Centre aims to accelerate manufacturing in the Midlands

A new centre aimed at boosting manufacturing in the Midlands has been launched at Loughborough University.

The Industrial Policy and Insight Centre will bring together academics, businesses and government to generate thought-leadership papers, insight and industrial policy positioning reports.

Run in collaboration with The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) – which aims to bridge the gap between academia and industry – the centre will tackle issues such as:

  • Barriers to rapid market pivots based on Covid-19 experience
  • Business model transformation
  • Cultural change within the manufacturing environment
  • Economic impact of manufacturing
  • Financing and funding model transformation
  • Market aggregation
  • Technology drivers
  • Supply chain development
  • Energy supply, including renewables

Loughborough’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Allison launched the initiative. He said: “Today, I’m delighted to be launching the Industrial Policy and Insight Centre.

“I really look forward to what this centre is going to be contributing not just to the University, but also nationally. One of the things we have at the heart of what we do is working in partnership.

“An example of that is working with the Manufacturing Technology Centre, or other catapults around the country. I wish everybody every success for this venture in the future.”

Centre director Professor Chris White, of Loughborough’s School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, said: “The centre will focus on activities that will support the manufacturing sector in the Midlands.

“In addition, it also has a remit to review both the national and international landscapes to help ensure that the region is recognised nationally as being synonymous with world-class manufacturing.”

Prof White previously headed the Institute for Industrial Strategy at King’s College London, and served as the MP for Warwick and Leamington between 2010 and 2017.

Other activities will include a public lecture programme, an annual manufacturing leaders’ summit and a national manufacturing summit.

The centre will report to a board, which consists of Clive Hickman, Chief Executive of MTC; Loughborough’s Pro-vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Steve Rothberg and Professor Paul Conway, Dean of the School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering.

Prof Rothberg said: “The Industrial Policy and Insight Centre will be an important addition to our already impressive portfolio of research-based institutions at the University.

“Our region is at the heart of manufacturing in the UK, and we look forward to playing our role in the sector’s contribution to the recovery alongside our MTC Founder partners, the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham.”

The centre is also heavily involved in the MTC’s Midlands Manufacturing Resilience Commission (M2R), which will be published next month (Nov 2020).

The report will review the Midlands’ manufacturing landscape post-Covid, contribute to the creation of a wider Midlands’ manufacturing strategy and develop recommendations to help build the region’s manufacturing resilience and its subsequent economic impact.

MTC’s Clive Hickman said: “Our organisation’s collaboration with universities such as Loughborough is a vital part of our work. The Midlands will play a central role in the renaissance of manufacturing in our country.

“This new centre, based at Loughborough, but with a strong relationship with the MTC, will help rebuild the national and international reputation of our region for being at the leading edge of manufacturing innovation. I wish it every success.”

Prof Conway added: “I look forward to working with Professor Chris White and his team.

“There are a number of significant initiatives underway at the moment, which will play an important part in how we shape the next decade, whether through net zero or the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“The centre will review these and other strategies, where the University, and its partners hope to play a key role.”

Two sponsors have already been secured – Lloyds Bank and Shakespeare Martineau – with funding from a variety of other streams also expected.

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