Plans for a manufacturing technology centre on Kingsway Business Park have been endorsed by UK Research & Innovation, which has awarded a small grant from its Strength in Places Fund for the design to proceed to the next stage.
The Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute is seen as a potential catalyst for an innovation district which could be located at Kingsway, the large industrial park next to J21 of the M62.
The industry-led project has the support of Rochdale Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The centre has been designed by Fairhurst Design Group, which specialises in science and technology education buildings.
AMPI was one of 17 projects in the latest UKRI awards. Partners the National Physical Laboratory, Rochdale Development Agency, Milnrow-based Holroyd Precision, the University of Huddersfield and University of Salford, secured £50,000 early-stage funding.
Tony Bannan, CEO of Holroyd Precision, has long campaigned for the creation of an Institute in Rochdale to meet the rising skills gap facing manufacturers. He said: “Our ambition is for AMPI to become a practical, accessible and potentially transformative resource for regional and national manufacturing companies – of all sizes. If your company needs machines, new technologies, advanced processes or integrated systems to make your products, or if you need targeted innovation and skills to improve productivity and competitiveness, then AMPI will help you.”
Paul Ormerod, chairman of the Rochdale Development Agency, said: “As a forward-thinking and innovative manufacturing location, Rochdale is pleased to have been a long-term collaborative partner of the AMPI.
“We recognise that the institute will be the catalyst that drives a manufacturing technology revolution. It will foster the innovation that will generate wealth, improve skills and deliver prosperity for Rochdale and North of England.”
The AMPI will provide a safe space, technical resources and the skills pipeline needed for advanced machinery innovation to flourish.
UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund is a pathfinder programme investing in research and innovation projects to boost research and innovation capacity in specific areas of the UK, driving economic growth in those areas.