Major firm puts weight behind technology research park

THE Yorkshire economy has received a much-needed boost after UK Coal extended its partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing Park by three years.

The internationally-recognised centre for engineering research will now continue to focus on developing advanced materials and manufacturing technology.

Companies based on the 100-acre technology park near Rotherham, also may access complementary services and facilities.

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UK Coal also confirmed that it is preparing to relocate its property arm, Harworth Estates, to the park, known as the AMP.

Simon Hill, Executive Director of Business at regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, said: "The Advanced Manufacturing Park is an exemplar of collaboration between industry and academia and one in which we have invested since our inception.

"Here, companies such as the University of Sheffield, Rolls Royce and Boeing are on one site, working together to put the region at the forefront of the UK's advanced manufacturing offer.

"The vision we have signed today with our partners Harworth Estates, the property arm of UK Coal, ensures that the incredible work being done onsite has a commitment long after our closure, securing and creating jobs now and in the future."

Around 20 property professionals and support staff are preparing to move to the site before the end of the year, occupying offices in the technology centre building at the heart of the complex.

Earlier this year the new 25m Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, led by the University of Sheffield with Rolls-Royce, also moved in, forming part of the Government's Low Carbon Industrial Strategy.

Mr Hill added: "We feel that Harworth Estates' move to the park will provide further business confidence to the site and continue to cement Yorkshire and Humbers position as a centre of excellence for manufacturing to a global marketplace."

Owen Michaelson, Managing Director of Harworth Estates, said: "As joint founders of the AMP concept and promoting its benefits along with partners Yorkshire Forward, we feel our presence there will be an added stimulus to the further growth of the facility as a centre of excellence for high-tech developments, particularly in the field of metals and materials.

"As a sign of our continued commitment, we are also pleased to confirm the vision which controls the type of business activities that are able to locate on the park will be extended for a further three years from next April. The AMP vision will by then have been in existence for a total of 12 years.

"Our staff are enthusiastic at the prospect of relocating to the AMP, a site we continue to manage and service, and which we and Yorkshire Forward believe can deliver thousands of new jobs in cutting-edge technologies for many years to come."

Prime Minister David Cameron highlighted the park as a prime example of "Britain of the future," last week and revealed plans to invest more than 200m in technology and innovation centres over the next four years.

Mr Hill said: "We welcome the announcement by Government as they plan to invest over 200m in technology and innovation centres over the next four years.

"By investing in centres of industrial collaboration across the region, Yorkshire Forward has helped businesses harness the innovation and cutting edge expertise from universities within Yorkshire and Humber; delivering 1,500 projects with business, grossing more than 38m of income and creating or safeguarding 1,400 jobs to date.

"We hope to see this work continue long-term."