Advanced manufacturing innovation district to be created in South Yorkshire
16th January 2015
AN advanced manufacturing innovation district is to be set up in Sheffield and Rotherham to help accelerate the growth in the sector.
It will be Europe's largest research-led Advanced Manufacturing cluster, centred around the Sheffield-Rotherham corridor, which is already home to the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the wider Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) at Waverley.
Cllr Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council, said: "Our Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District will be built on the burgeoning research-led Advanced Manufacturing cluster at the AMP and across the Sheffield Rotherham Economic Corridor.
"We need to accelerate the next generation of growth by ensuring that our investment in innovation continues and that the area is physically connected, transit-accessible and technically wired.
"Our unrivalled connection of industry and research-led innovation at the AMRC has been a force for the agglomeration of advanced manufacturing and technology firms.
"This critical mass of expertise and experience presents the UK with a unique opportunity to create an innovation district of global significance, where we can design and make the next generation of whole industries."
The next step in the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District will be to progress the masterplanning process and undertake infrastructure and economic assessments, as well as transport modelling studies.
The announcement came during a three-day visit to Sheffield and Rotherham from Bruce Katz, Vice President of the Washington DC-based Brookings Institution and author of "The Rise of Innovation Districts."
Mr Katz said: "This is Sheffield's moment. You recognise the critical importance of the advanced industries and the opportunity for devolution.
"Your capability in advanced manufacturing and materials is distinctive globally, and your culture of collaboration across business, university and local government aligns well with the new network model of innovation growth."
During his visit to Sheffield City Region, Mr Katz visited the AMRC and companies including Forgemasters, the Tata Proving Factory at Newburgh Precision Engineering and Alcoa, which completed the acquisition of Firth Rixson, a global leader in aerospace jet engine components, in November 2014.
He also delivered a public lecture in partnership with the University of Sheffield at Sheffield's recently-restored historic Cathedral, entitled "The Rise of Innovation Districts", which attracted more than 400 guests.
Mr Katz's visit also marks the launch of Sheffield's International Economic Commission and is the first of a series of "city charrettes," which will showcase Sheffield to the world and enable city leaders to make global investment connections.
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