£15m nuclear research facility moves step closer
Published: 12 November 2020
Derby’s bid to establish a world-beating advanced manufacturing research centre took a step closer last night, when Cabinet approved plans to deliver the new facility with its partners Nuclear AMRC, University of Derby and IPD LLP (the Developers).
The new Manufacturing Research Centre (MRC) at Infinity Park Derby is expected to create up to 70 high value jobs. It will be operated by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), part of the national High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which helps companies develop new techniques and processes to win work in the nuclear sector and tackle manufacturing challenges in automotive, rail, aerospace renewable energy and other high-value sectors.
Last night’s decision has given Derby City Council and its partners the green light to progress plans for the £15m initiative. The next stage will see a planning application submitted in February next year, with work on site expected to begin in August 2021.
Upon completion, the facility will create a permanent base for Nuclear AMRC in the City Centre and raise the profile of Infinity Park Derby.
The move follows a successful pilot project run over the past 18 months and is expected to see an exciting new partnership formed to help businesses in the region boost employment through innovation.
It will also become a base for the University of Derby’s Institute of Innovation in Sustainable Engineering, which has developed an international reputation for innovation in design, manufacturing, product lifecycle management and application of new and smart materials.
Once built and occupied, the facility is expected to add £52m to the local Derby economy (Gross Value Added) across a five-year period, supporting SMEs in the area to grow by creating opportunities for research and development.
But the real benefits of this new centre lie in the growth and increased resilience of manufacturers in the Midland supply chain. Based on existing experience, it is anticipated that the facility will engage with 100 businesses leading to 50 medium term interventions and then around 35 significant collaborations over the next 5 years.
Councillor Matthew Holmes, Derby City Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said:
We’ve reached another key milestone for this fantastic project and we can continue to build on the progress into the New Year.
It’s great news for Derby’s SME businesses and we anticipate that this will propel further Infinity Park Derby as the manufacturing destination of choice. Having a world-class research facility on our doorstep is a huge boost for the city and supports our drive to emerge stronger in our economic recovery.
Andrew Storer, Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear AMRC, said:
I am delighted to move a step closer to creating a new permanent home for Nuclear AMRC Midlands, and work more closely with local industry and academic partners as the first HVM Catapult facility in the East Midlands. There will be huge opportunities for the region’s manufacturers as the UK moves to net-zero emissions by 2050, and we will work closely with companies of all sizes to help them join the supply chains for small modular reactors, fusion power and hydrogen generation.
The new facility will also allow us to work with companies in other sectors such as aerospace and rail to help them overcome the manufacturing challenges in their core markets, and share world-leading innovation and best practice to support long-term sustainable growth.
The new facility has been in principle allocated just over £9million of funding by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, including £6.85million from its Getting Building Fund and £2.2million from its Growing Places Fund. The Getting Building Fund is investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to create jobs and support economic recovery across the country.
The final allocation of funds is subject to the approval of a full business case by the D2N2 LEP.
Sajeeda Rose, CEO, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership said:
This is an important development as we look to the future; building on Derby and the wider D2N2 LEP area’s reputation for manufacturing excellence. The Nuclear AMRC will give small and medium-sized businesses access to leading technological expertise leading to improved productivity and innovation across the region.
D2N2 is fully committed to Infinity Park as an area for growth in Derby, along with the other sites which make up the Nottingham & Derby Enterprise Zone. This is a key asset for the D2N2 area and will help to create jobs and attract new inward investment as we rebuild the regional economy.
Professor Warren Manning, Provost – Innovation and Research at the University of Derby, said:
We very much welcome the support the city council has given to this proposal. Derby has been synonymous with innovation in engineering and manufacturing throughout its recent history, and this proposal will keep the city at the cutting edge, driving some of the most exciting and globally significant developments as we move into the ‘carbon net zero’ era.
Our researchers and academics will be at the heart of that, helping businesses create new products and upskill employees, establishing partnerships to find solutions for whole industry sectors, and supporting graduates to pursue PhD opportunities in areas such as advanced manufacturing, low carbon technologies and data science.