Investment boost for national manufacturing centre

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It is hoped that the centre will make Scotland a world leader in advanced manufacturing

The Scottish government has announced an additional £20m of funding for Scotland’s first national manufacturing centre of excellence.

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) aims to make Scotland a world leader in advanced manufacturing.

It will include a skills academy and industry-led research and development facilities.

The latest funding brings total Scottish government investment in the project to £75m.

The announcement came as Morrisons Construction secured a £42m contract to build the new centre next to Glasgow Airport.

Works are expected to begin as soon as possible after current guidance around non-essential construction work is revised. It is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

The centre, which will be operated by the University of Strathclyde, will be located next to the existing Lightweight Manufacturing Centre which opened last year as a specialist technology centre.

Earlier this week, a former boss of the Michelin tyre plant in Dundee was chosen to lead the development of the NMIS facility.

John Reid will become chief executive of the institute in August.

Mr Reid was general manager of Michelin Dundee when it was announced that the site was to be closed down.

He went on to oversee the conversion of the factory into the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP).

Challenge fund

Meanwhile, the Scottish government has announced £15.8m of investment in the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF).

The fund will allow 12 projects involving universities, colleges, third-sector organisations and local authorities to help small and medium-sized enterprises develop their manufacturing capabilities.

Both NMIS and the AMCF aim to help Scotland’s manufacturing sector to transform skills, productivity and innovation.

The NMIS facility will be the anchor tenant for the Renfrewshire Council-led Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland, which also includes the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre, another specialist technology centre.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Like many parts of the economy, manufacturing has been adversely affected by the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19).

“But the crisis has also demonstrated why we need a strong manufacturing sector, with many companies contributing to the national effort by repurposing or scaling up their activity to supply vital equipment to health and social care.”

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