Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland has recently announced the plan of establishing a £8.9 mn Lightweight Manufacturing Centre in Westway, Renfrew. The centre will be set up in the former Doosan Babcock facility and will support highly skilled jobs as well as place Scotland at the forefront of lightweight manufacturing. It will be run by the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) in Inchinnan. Setting up the specialist centre is the first step towards creating a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS).
The centre will provide Scottish companies a competitive edge in new manufacturing processes for lightweight materials such as titanium and carbon fibre, which are increasingly being used in the aerospace, automotive, oil and gas and renewables industries. Lightweight materials increase efficiency, performance and help reduce carbon emissions.
Helping Scottish business
Speaking to an audience of 75 companies at the AFRC, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “A vibrant and innovative manufacturing base is critical to Scotland’s economic success and to creating skilled employment opportunities for the future. The Lightweight Manufacturing Centre will help Scottish businesses to take advantage of the fact that sectors such as aerospace and the automotive industry are making more and more use of lightweight materials. It will deliver cutting edge research and development projects with and for companies in Scotland.”
The National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland is being developed by the Scottish Government and Strathclyde University, in association with the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering, our Enterprise agencies, Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the Scottish Funding Council and the private sector. It will equip manufacturers to compete in future international markets and support the transformation of Scotland’s manufacturing industry in terms of innovation and digital opportunities, creating sustainable, high-value and highly skilled jobs.
Transforming Scotland’s manufacturing industry
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “Scotland has a track-record of world-class research and innovation, and is committed to setting new standards in manufacturing and design. At Strathclyde, we are delighted to have used our leading manufacturing capability to drive the development of this new centre with the Scottish Government. The centre is a crucial step towards transforming Scotland’s manufacturing industry, creating new opportunities and sustainable, high-value jobs.”
Funding for the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre will consist of £3.9 mn from the Scottish Government, £3.4 mn from Scottish Enterprise and £1.6 mn from the Advanced Forming Research Centre.