Manufacturing expert opening base in Manchester’s innovation district

Circle Square

A leader in UK manufacturing technology innovation is to open offices in the centre of Manchester, which could help the region close its manufacturing output gap of £500m.

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVM Catapult), as well as deep tech innovation organisation, CPI, are taking space in Bruntwood SciTech’s Circle Square, close to the University of Manchester campus.

HVM Catapult is the go-to place for manufacturing technology innovation, with seven centres across the country, covering the full range of manufacturing technology capabilities, from materials to biologics and from automation to virtual reality, from additive manufacturing to metal forming.

It offers open access to the latest industrial scale equipment, leading expertise and an environment of collaboration between industry, academia and government. It works with businesses of all sizes and all sectors to help turn ideas into commercial applications.

The existing manufacturing business base in Greater Manchester is highly productive by UK standards. But the overall output gap for the region, just in terms of manufacturing, is approximately £500m per annum.

The HVM Catapult can advise and incentivise businesses to invest in innovation and help develop their workforces to address this annual output gap.

This could include helping firms grow their existing business base, particularly family run small and medium-sized enterprises, by encouraging more investment in research and development which supports access into new markets and more complex supply chains.

It could also involve the need to grow and diversify the manufacturing sector as a whole by attracting investment in faster growing and more productive sectors, such as pharma, materials and agri food technology. CPI has specific expertise of growing high value-adding/fast growth sectors, which are new to the region and wider UK.

HVM Catapult chief executive, Katherine Bennett, said: “Backing manufacturing through technology innovation in Manchester is an important part of the ‘levelling up’ agenda.

“Mancunians are extremely hard workers and there is so much opportunity for growth in the region. Manufacturing not only brings direct benefits to the local economy, but every 100 manufacturing jobs creates, in turn, an additional 90 jobs in the wider economy.”

She added: “To expand its impact across the North, CPI’s new Manchester office, alongside its office recently opened in Liverpool City Region at another of Bruntwood SciTech’s locations – Liverpool Science Park – will further connect the innovation ecosystem and boost prosperity across the North of England. HVM Catapult and CPI hope to pave the way for R&D in the region and deliver commercial and collaborative technology innovation projects that boost sustainability, health and economic prosperity.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “This is fantastic news for Greater Manchester and especially for our manufacturing sector. The HVM Catapult is there to help businesses innovate, which will spark further investment and the support the creation of high-quality jobs.

“Going back to the industrial revolution, our city region has been at the centre of advances in science and technology. Innovation is just as important to our future. Increased R&D spending and more productive businesses can power the growth of our economy and level up the North.”

HVM Catapult’s seven centres of industrial innovation, including CPI, were brought together in 2011 by Innovate UK. In 2021/22, the network worked with more than 5,500 industrial partners. CPI collaborates with partners in industry, academia, government and the investment community to catalyse the delivery of incredible healthcare and sustainability innovations.

Frank Millar, CEO of CPI, said: “CPI has worked collaboratively with businesses and institutions in Manchester over several years. With its industrial history, outstanding academic institutions, and thriving start-up, science and technology scene, opening an office in Manchester is delivering our strategy to enable place-based innovation.

“Through high impact innovation partnerships, strategies and programmes, we’re excited to support businesses in Greater Manchester to become more competitive, delivering impact in the local economy, developing skills, and creating and protecting high value jobs.”

Dr Kath Mackay, director for life sciences at Bruntwood SciTech, said: “As the UK’s leading property provider dedicated to driving the growth of the science and technology sector, we’re delighted to welcome both HVM Catapult and one of its founding members, CPI, to Circle Square.

“They will be located in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district, the Oxford Road Corridor, putting them perfectly placed in immediate proximity to the world-renowned academic institutions and the largest cluster of the city’s science and tech businesses, enabling the HVMC to tap into the ecosystem we’re proud to have nurtured here.

“This exciting partnership aligns perfectly with our vision and model of curating interconnected, industry-leading innovation districts and ecosystems right across the UK. With CPI and the Manufacturing Technology Centre, both founding members in the Catapult, already operating from Liverpool Science Park and the HVM Catapult in talks for further sites with us, there has never been greater access to facilities, funding, talent, or collaboration opportunities for science and tech businesses looking to form, scale and grow in the UK’s leading regional cities.”