£10.7m boost for industrial digitalisation in North West

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The University of Liverpool has announced a £10.7m boost for industrial digitalisation across the region.

Its Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) is leading two new programmes to boost productivity in the North West through the digitalisation of industrial processes.

Both projects are part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will ensure SMEs in Liverpool City Region, Cheshire and Warrington can capitalise on new digital technologies and local university R&D capabilities.

The new LCR4.0 HOLISTIC and Cheshire & Warrington 4.0 (C&W 4.0) projects will build on the regional success of the VEC-led LCR4.0 and LCR4 START programmes, which strengthened the capacity of manufacturing SMEs to adopt industry 4.0 practices and technologies, and created digital adoption strategies for SMEs, respectively.

The £5.1m LCR4.0 HOLISTIC programme is a fully integrated digital innovation support project, developed with the University of Liverpool Management School Operations and Supply Chain Management group, with partners Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Growth Platform.

C&W 4.0 will see the VEC expand the proven LCR4.0 model into Cheshire and Warrington, linking businesses in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries with the university’s expertise. This £5.6m project is tailored specifically to meet the needs of manufacturing and engineering businesses in Cheshire and Warrington to implement new Industry 4.0 technologies. Partners include the Science & Technology Facilities Council, LJMU and the Northern Automotive Alliance.

Dr Andrew Levers, executive director, Institute of Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems at the University of Liverpool, said: “This funding means we can continue to build upon our successful legacy of industrial digitalisation programmes for Liverpool City Region, and extend this offer to neighbouring Cheshire and Warrington.

Digital innovation will be crucial to a region’s economic recovery after COVID-19 and to help respond to the challenges brought about by Brexit. The LCR4.0 HOLISTIC and C&W 4.0 programmes will mean even more North West businesses can tap into world leading expertise from a research intensive Russell Group University.”

Jointly the projects will support more than 310 businesses over the next three years and create 260 R&D collaborations between industry and higher education institutes.

The University of Liverpool has a proven track record of helping businesses to transform and compete by demystifying and accelerating digital innovation.

The VEC has assisted large companies, including Sellafield and Bentley Motors, and hundreds of SMEs and start-ups, to explore and adopt new digital technologies for more than a decade.

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