Partners in the new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Industrial Sustainability are Cranfield the University of Cambridge IfM, Loughborough University and Imperial College London.
The EPSRC Centre, will be supported by £4.5m from EPSRC and a further £1.3m from industrial partners and will support the development of a sustainable UK industrial system through the dissemination of applied research.
It will also equip the future leaders of manufacturing with the knowledge, tools & methods necessary to encourage innovation in the field. Finally the centre will offer policy-makers support and guidance over regulatory frameworks to hep encourage sustainable development in manufacturing industries.
Professor Steve Evans of Cranfield who is heading the project said: “The EPSRC centre will address a number of key challenges including how we can make products in a low-carbon resource efficient manner and how we can make our factories and processes greener.
”We want to explore major changes to the industrial system and to do this we expect to encourage greater collaboration between universities and industry.
" We also want to promote the subject agenda to our academic colleagues and to work closely with Government and think-tanks on policies which can support industrial sustainability.”
Professor Sir Mike Gregory, head of the IfM, said he was delighted the institute could play a major role in the project: “In order to achieve our stated goals we need this type of close collaboration between academe and industry, the EPSRC Centre provides a great opportunity to move towards a sustainable industrial system.”
The project has been backed by a range of key industrial partners which include multinationals such as Unilever, GM, IBM, Toyota and Marks and Spencer. It has also been supported by UK-based companies Suffolk-brewer Adnams, precision engineers Shearline, shelving and storage design fim Vitsoe and city car manufacturer Riversimple. EEF, the Carbon Trust and the TUC have also supported the ambitious initiative.
The announcement forms part of a £51m Government project to create eight high value manufacturing centres, which will see universities collaborate with industry on a range of manufacturing and engineering topics.
Science Minister David Willetts, said the new centres would: “combine inventive research and business acumen to develop the high-tech manufacturing industries we need to secure sustainable growth.”
Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk said: ”Manufacturing generates £140 billion a year for the economy and accounts for 55 per cent of total UK exports. These exciting new partnerships between our universities and businesses will play a vital role in keeping UK manufacturing ahead of the game internationally.”