Derby launches £20m bid for new manufacturing research centre

Some 70 jobs could be created in Derby if a bid to create a £20m advanced manufacturing research centre is successful.

City leaders are set to submit plans to the government for cash to establish the centre in a move they say will “reboot” Derby’s economy following the coronavirus crisis.

The initiative would create a new permanent home on Derby’s Infinity Park for the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), an organisation which helps companies develop new techniques and processes to win work in the nuclear sector and tackle manufacturing challenges in automotive, rail, aerospace, renewable energy and other high-value sectors.

In 2018, it was announced that the Nuclear AMRC would be taking space at Derby’s iHub facility on Infinity Park.

Any new, permanent home would also become a base for the University of Derby’s Institute of Innovation in Sustainable Engineering, which has developed an international reputation for innovation in design, manufacturing, product lifecycle management and the application of new and smart materials.

The initiative is being supported by Derby City Council, the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, the university and Nuclear AMRC and a funding bid has been submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Nuclear AMRC is part of the Government-supported High-Value Manufacturing Catapult.

It set up a pilot operation at the iHub on Derby’s Infinity Park in February last year and since then has worked on projects with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Sellafield nuclear plant and has collaborated with East Midlands universities on renewable energy and decarbonising transport initiatives.

Andrew Storer, chief executive at Nuclear AMRC, said: “Derby already has a base in civil nuclear through Rolls-Royce, with whom we work as part of the UK small modular reactor consortium. We are anticipating increased investment into clean energy and low-carbon technologies, which can play a significant role in helping the city and region rebound from the pandemic slowdown and deliver sustainable growth for decades to come.

“We have initiatives in place to support the wider supply chain and help them capitalise on opportunity. We also hope to support diversification in sectors such as aerospace and automotive.”

Councillor Matthew Holmes, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration said the project was a key part of the city’s economic recovery strategy and would help local companies to diversify and grow.

“Derby has been a world leader in innovation for the past 300 years. We want to ensure that our businesses are well-placed to benefit from the development of new processes and particularly new, clean technologies that will help the UK achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”