Joined: 16 Mar 2004
|Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:55 pm Post subject: Nano Technology Boost for the UK West Midlands
|Small is Beautiful - Micro and Nano Technology Boost for the UK West Midlands
Margaret Hodge, UK Industry and Regions Minister, today announced a multi-million pound project in the West Midlands to unleash the commercial potential of cutting-edge micro and nanotechnology.
The project, Materials Solutions, has been set up with a £5m grant from the Department of Trade and Industry and a further £2m from the Advantage West Midlands regional development agency. It will start in January on the University of Birmingham campus. It will be a national centre of nanotechnology expertise providing prototypes and research which will help businesses solve challenges in new ways. In the automotive industry the centre will help develop cars which use petrol more efficiently and with cleaner emissions.
The Minister made the announcement during a visit to the region which includes a meeting with young apprentices starting careers at Land Rover in Solihull, taking part in a round table discussion with key industrialists, and unveiling a £30m engineering centre near Birmingham Airport for Airbus, which is expected to create 100 new high quality engineering jobs. She is also visiting Ricardo, in Leamington Spa, which helps automotive companies around the world to modernise and become more efficient, and was part of the recent successful JCB diesel world land speed record bid.
Margaret Hodge said: "The West Midlands is often described as the heart of UK manufacturing which makes is the perfect location for Materials Solutions. This project will help industry access cutting edge university research to diversify and modernise the West Midlands economy and spread the benefits across the UK.
"The DTI is investing £90m in nanotechnology to help UK industry to match the best in the world."
The project will form part of an area of high-tech activity - the Central Technology Belt - stretching between Aston Science Park in north Birmingham to Malvern in Worcestershire.
Nanotechnology uses the science of microscopically small particles to make existing processes more efficient and greener. The Birmingham project is to create 25 jobs directly and generate an income of £2.5 million a year. In the longer term, nanotechnology is expected to be part of a world-wide market worth £1 trillion by 2013.
John Edwards, Chief Executive of Advantage West Midlands, said: "The arrival of Materials Solutions is another clear example that our region is beginning to emerge as a powerful force for future technologies. It demonstrates how the region's economy continues to develop and diversify following the collapse of MG Rover. There is hope that in time the project will be a key part of the revival of the Longbridge area."
Carl Brancher, interim chief executive of Materials Solutions, said: "We will focus on providing solutions to reduced energy consumption, emissions and weight, and to assist the performance of companies in the West Midlands and beyond by developing rapid prototyping processes for new products."
This story was first posted on 11th September 2006.