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State-of-the-art Research Centre Could Transform Scots Manufacturing

David Paul

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Research Centre

The research and development (R&D) centre, focusing on technologies such as digital engineering, automation and assembly, comes as Scotland looks towards new ‘smart manufacturing’.

Planning permission has been granted for the development of a £65 million manufacturing research centre in Renfrewshire, close to Glasgow Airport and the existing Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC).

Named the ‘National Manufacturing Institute Scotland’ (NMIS), it will be operated by the University of Strathclyde and focus on engineering and automation assembly.

The facility will help support manufacturing and engineering firms across Scotland and internationally to innovate and grow their businesses.

The project is backed by the Scottish Government and organisations, including Scottish Enterprise, Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Funding Council. The Scottish Government is investing £48 million, while the University of Strathclyde is investing £8 million.

A statement from the Scottish Government read: “Manufacturing is important to Scotland’s economy, employing more than 185,000 people and accounting for more than half of our international exports and business research and development.

“We are establishing the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) as part of our commitment to support and grow our diverse manufacturing base, and to make Scotland a recognised producer as well as consumer of goods.

“We want the NMIS to be an industry-led international centre of manufacturing expertise. Industry, research and the public sector will work together to transform skills, productivity and innovation. This will attract investment and make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing.”

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Securing planning permission is a significant milestone for NMIS. It paves the way to start construction of the new facilities which will deliver the research, support and skills to help manufacturers unlock opportunities in emerging digital technologies and processes.

“NMIS will be an international centre of expertise where research, industry and the public sector will work together to make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing and attract investment.”

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The hope is that the new centre will help to develop the processes and technologies to address companies’ manufacturing challenges or opportunities, and to provide advanced manufacturing training and upskilling for workers.

The development of the new centre comes after a Scottish Government manufacturing plan was unveiled in 2016, designed to boost Scottish industry, and pledging £70 million for manufacturing and circular economy in the country.

‘A Manufacturing Future for Scotland’ outlined how government will “work with industry and with higher and further education institutions to stimulate innovation, improve productivity and increase investment in Scottish manufacturing in order that it can better compete globally”.

A fly-by view of the new facility can be seen here:

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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