The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Cymru, a £20m state-of-the-art research and development facility in North Wales, has officially opened.
AMRC Cymru is a purpose built research and development facility close to the Airbus wing-manufacturing plant in Broughton, and has been described by Welsh government ministers as a ‘game changer’ for the economies of Wales and the northern powerhouse.
It was officially opened by First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford and Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates, who accompanied Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield, on a tour of the new building to see the new technologies that will be available to manufacturing companies across Wales.
Speaking at the event, Professor Lamberts, said: ”We are really proud to be working with the Welsh Government on this bold and ambitious project which will help keep Wales at the forefront of wing manufacture and put world-leading research and development at the heart of a vibrant Welsh economy.
“The University of Sheffield AMRC has built a truly global reputation for world-class, industry focused innovation which drives manufacturing and productivity growth and we’re delighted to be bringing our extensive expertise and experience to Wales.”
Colin Sirett, University of Sheffield AMRC CEO, said AMRC Cymru is a landmark moment for both Wales and the UK.
“We share the Welsh Government’s ambition and vision to spark growth and productivity for the area and are very proud of this new addition to the University of Sheffield AMRC’s stable of world-class facilities which will be a beacon for innovation and advanced manufacturing in Wales and the northern powerhouse.
“We are supported in this by Innovate UK and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, along with the vital backing of the Aerospace Technology Institute, which shares our ambition to keep the UK at the forefront of the global aerospace sector.
“AMRC Cymru will not only help Welsh industry to develop new capabilities that build on an already rich manufacturing heritage, but it will strengthen collaboration between industry and academic partners, and put Wales centre stage with a leading role in developing cutting edge research, technologies and skills that are key to boosting productivity and growing the economy.”
The University of Sheffield AMRC Cymru will bring businesses new research and development opportunities and allow industry to access advanced technologies which will drive improvements in productivity, performance and quality.
Situated in the Deeside Enterprise Zone the facility will focus on advanced manufacturing sectors including aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food. This region has a strong manufacturing base and AMRC Cymru will build on this, driving world-class research and expertise across the supply chain.
It is predicted the new facility could increase GVA to the Welsh economy by as much as £4 billion over the next 20 years.
The facility will operate a 2,000 square metre open access research area. In addition Airbus will be the first major tenant and will have a platform to develop their next generation wing technologies aligned to its ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ programme, which is part of a global Airbus investment in research and innovation.
First Minister Mark Drakeford, said: “This is truly a historic day for North Wales. This is a world-class facility which, with its partners, will be a key driver in bringing the latest research, technology and skills to Deeside and the wider region.
“The Deeside Enterprise Zone has a strong manufacturing base and this development will further strengthen its position for the future, sparking innovation and productivity. It will ensure the area is at the forefront of cutting-edge skills in manufacturing.
“AMRC Cymru will be of benefit for generations to come in North Wales and is part of our aim to have a more prosperous and equal Wales.”
Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates, said: “AMRC Cymru is a real game-changer for the economy of North Wales. It will boost the region’s reputation for manufacturing excellence and its impact will be felt across Wales.
“It will play a key role in bringing academia and businesses closer together, boosting skills and innovation.
“It’s an amazing facility, developed by Welsh Government, operated by the University of Sheffield AMRC, bringing the very latest innovations and potential opportunities straight to North Wales. It will raise productivity in the region and along with the North Wales Growth Deal and our investment in infrastructure will allow North Wales to fulfil its economic ambition.
“It’s a very real pleasure after only three years from concept to delivery for me to see it now ready to open for business.”
AMRC Cymru was designed and project managed by Arup and the construction was carried out by Galliford Try.