The UK has announced an investment of £300 million in joint government and industry funding to boost the nation’s manufacturing capacities.
The government will invest £147 million, backed by further funding from industry, to support businesses in implementing new technologies to improve their manufacturing productivity, helping them reach new customers, create highly skilled jobs, slash carbon emissions and reduce prices for consumers.
The investment will give a crucial lift to aerospace, automotive, pharmaceuticals and food and beverage sectors as the UK builds back from the pandemic.
The first £50 million of funding from the Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge is being granted to 14 manufacturing projects involving around 30 small or medium businesses, 29 larger enterprises and nine universities, with the rest of the funds due over the next five years.
Winning projects include WeldZero, which will explore the use of robots, sensors and automation to improve accuracy when welding metal parts on production lines and The Digital Sandwich, which is creating software aimed at boosting food quality and reducing waste in the food supply chain.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Increasing productivity is vital for any business and having the right new technologies in place can help manufacturers make better products to compete and thrive.
“By helping manufacturers to reduce costs, cut waste and slash the time it takes to develop their products, this multi-million pound uplift will help fire up the cylinders of productivity as we build back better from the pandemic.”
The programme will also create a national network of innovation ‘hubs’ where businesses can partner or share advice to help spur growth and creative ideas.