New R&D centre for Derby

The Nuclear AMRC has signed an agreement with Derby City Council and local stakeholders to establish a new industrial R&D centre at the city’s Infinity Park.

The proposed new centre will complement the capabilities of the Nuclear AMRC’s core research factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, and its modularisation R&D facility in Birkenhead. It will also draw on the wider capabilities of the University of Sheffield AMRC cluster of advanced manufacturing centres, including the AMRC with Boeing and the AMRC Training Centre.

Infinity Park is a 100 acre technology park to the south of Derby, and part of the Nottingham and Derby Enterprise Zone. The Nuclear AMRC will initially take space in Infinity Park’s iHub facility, to develop technology demonstrators and test ideas before committing to a full-scale bespoke facility of around 5,000 square metres.

“A new facility will give us the space to establish industrial pull and develop new capabilities in technology themes such as digital controls and instrumentation, advanced simulation, equipment qualification and construction,” says Andrew Storer, Nuclear AMRC chief executive officer.

“The new centre will also act as a regional hub for on-the-ground support to manufacturers of all sizes. We have already helped dozens of Midlands-based manufacturers become Fit For Nuclear through our supply chain development programme, and want to work with even more to support their ambitions in nuclear and other high-value sectors.”

Infinity Park is located alongside the global headquarters of Rolls-Royce, the Nuclear AMRC’s founding industrial member, in the UK’s largest cluster of advanced manufacturing.

According to the Midlands Engine partnership, the region’s economy is based on a globally-significant advanced manufacturing base serving sectors such as energy, aerospace, automotive and rail, generating 31 per cent of the UK’s exports in machinery and transport.

“The location is important – there is a lot of talk about the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine, and we can join these through our Birkenhead, Rotherham and Derby facilities,” Storer says. “We work with manufacturing companies large and small to help them win work in the nuclear sector, and to de-risk investments in new technologies which can be applied across a host of industries. A new facility in Derby will give us an incredible opportunity for cross-sector activities to expand our work into new areas of research.”

The Nuclear AMRC has now signed an agreement with Derby City Council and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, and is planning a cross-sector launch event at the iHub facility in the summer.

The agreement will support Derby City Council and D2N2’s strategy for improving the region’s economic growth, skills and jobs. D2N2 is allocating £12.9 million to Infinity from its Local Growth Fund allocation over six years to improve infrastructure on the site.

“The iHub is a real beacon for innovation and growth and is now home to some of the most inspiring SMEs from across the UK’s planes, trains and automobiles sector. With Rolls-Royce and many other of high-tech companies in the area, it makes perfect sense to house the new innovation centre close by on Infinity Park,” says Councillor Martin Rawson, cabinet member for regeneration and the economy. “We hope that AMRC’s expertise for research and innovation, coupled with the city’s strong skills base, will reinforce Derby’s reputation as the go-to place for global manufacturing companies and act as a catalyst for attracting even more high-tech engineering and manufacturing companies to Infinity Park.”

“Our work alongside the other centres in the University of Sheffield AMRC has made the Sheffield City Region a magnet for smart inward investors,” Storer adds. “With the support of Derby City Council and D2N2, our plan is to create that same impact here at Infinity Park in Derby.

“For me, this is doubly exciting as I started work as an apprentice very close to here, so hopefully this will inspire the next generation of talented engineers – boys and girls – to continue the tradition for advanced manufacturing in Derby and the Midlands Engine.”