By Daniel Hunter

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, will today (Wednesday) tour universities in the East Midlands to meet senior research academics and business people developing the science and technologies that can power the next generation of UK manufacturing and help to drive economic growth.

The Minister will spend the first part of his day officially opening and touring the new Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IfAM) at The University of Nottingham. Here he will meet scientists and engineers working in fields such as Additive Manufacturing who have been supported with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

In the afternoon Mr Willetts will join delegates at the EPSRC’s Manufacturing the Future conference, taking place at Loughborough University, where he will announce the establishment of 5 new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), which are to be funded by grants totalling £14.1 million and based across the UK.

Ahead of his tour Mr Willetts said: “Developing the research base to support the UK’s wealth creating industries of tomorrow is essential. I am keen to see what is coming down the line at Nottingham and Loughborough and meet those who are the future of manufacturing. However, to make discoveries, we have to have new explorers and the new Centres for Doctoral Training I will announce today will help supply UK industries with the skilled researchers they need to drive growth.”

Professor David Delpy, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said: “The new Institute of Advance Manufacturing will build on our earlier investments in the University of Nottingham, which includes £16 million support for the Nottingham Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre. The new Centres for Doctoral Training will be strategic centres for the next generation of engineers through the EPSRC-funded manufacturing EngD programme.”

The new CDTS are as follows:

· Centre for Doctoral Training in the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies at UCL — Which will focus on the most rapidly developing parts of the UK bio-centred pharmaceutical and healthcare biotechnology sector with major implications for future medicine. It will train the bioprocess engineering leaders of the future to support the translation of new scientific advances into safely produced, more selective, therapies for currently intractable conditions.

· Doctoral Training Centre in the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation at University of Strathclyde — Will tackle core issues in the manufacture of fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals that will contribute to bringing new products more quickly to market, using more reliable, energy-efficient and profitable manufacturing routes. It will create a national community of highly skilled researchers in continuous manufacturing and crystallisation, The CDT will work with industry partners and seven universities to train three cohorts of PhD students with the skills, knowledge and understanding to help meet the challenges of continuous manufacturing.

· Cambridge & Cranfield Doctoral Training Centre in Ultra Precision — Will focus on the demand for large-scale, ultra precision, complex components by many of the emerging sectors and next generation products such as intelligent packaging and low cost photovoltaics. It will continue collaborations with SMEs which are seen as key components in the fields that require precision engineers.

Industrial Doctorate Centre in Composites Manufacture — Will focus on the specialist discipline of polymer composites manufacturing relevant to the aerospace, automotive, marine, wind energy and construction industries filling an existing gap in provision of industrially focussed higher level education in the UK. It will have its centre of gravity in Bristol, with the new National Composites Centre (NCC) the natural home-base for the cohort of composites manufacturing Research Engineers, embedded in the composites manufacturing industry.

Centre Of Advanced Training for Engineering Doctorates (COATED) — Will be hosted from the EPSRC and TSB funded Innovation Knowledge Centre (IKC) at Swansea University and will build on the initial momentum of this IKC with a focus on support for three entries of seven EngD students onto a new EngD programme based entirely on functional coatings. A key new development will be the engagement with Oxford, Bath and Imperial at EngD level as this will bring cluster activity within those institutions.

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