UK companies secure investment to boost competitiveness in High Value Manufacturing

28 Jul 2009

Over 160 UK companies have been successful in securing investment that will help them to become more competitive. The Technology Strategy Board, the government-funded body that supports technological innovation in the UK, is investing £24 million in 33 High Value Manufacturing projects ranging from important research and development into the effectiveness of processes used in drugs manufacture, through to support for feasibility studies into the development of innovative new wing architecture for aircraft and research which could help in the search for a cure for cancer.

The Step Change in Competitiveness / Value Systems Competition was launched in January 2009 and invited businesses in a broad range of industry sectors to form consortia and compete for funding. 

The aim is for companies to achieve major improvements of between 25% and 50% relative to their current performance in areas such as overall manufacturing costs, whole life-cycle costs, whole life environmental impact and product performance, durability and reliability. 

Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board Iain Gray said;

"This investment is intended to maintain and develop the international competitiveness of UK manufacturing companies against a backdrop where manufacturing often gravitates to countries with the lowest overall costs. Manufacturing in high wage economies, such as the UK, has to continue to innovate and change to remain competitive. It's also important to ensure that companies continue to innovate during the downturn to ensure a successful recovery for the UK economy. "
"This competition links in directly to the government's New Industry New Jobs Strategy published in April, which highlighted the need for a systematic focus on removing barriers to growth for UK business. Our broad investment across a range of UK businesses is part of this concerted drive to help to unlock competitive potential in High Value Manufacturing." 

The competition was divided into two sections; Step Change in Competitiveness with research projects focusing on products, processes and service systems; and work in the Value Systems area, with a focus on research into ways in which companies can extract most value for themselves and the UK. Two Research councils are providing funding to the academic research base, with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) contributing £324,368 to a Value Systems project and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) contributing £1,094,150 to two projects focusing on Step Changes in Competitiveness.

An extra £5m has been made available by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to enable the Technology Strategy Board to support some of the projects that were not successful in securing investment within the initial competition call. The competition was heavily oversubscribed and we were unable to fund nearly 50% of the projects that met our assessment criteria. In August, just under 40 consortia will be given the opportunity to propose how they can progress the early stages of their projects over the course of the next year. A further announcement on successful applicants will be made in coming months. Ends

For full press release including notes to editors, follow this link - UK companies secure investment to boost competitiveness in High Value Manufacturing


Last updated on Monday 02 August 2010 at 12:43

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