Brexit uncertainty over the promise of millions of pounds of European money for a major new manufacturing facility in South Yorkshire has been swept aside by the Chancellor Philip Hammond.
A £4m grant from the European Regional Development Fund has now been assured by the Government so that the University of Sheffield can go ahead with its ambitious plans to create a huge new innovation base that will support the growth and innovation of advanced manufacturing firms in South Yorkshire.
University vice-chancellor Sir Keith Burnett revealed that confirmation of the funding had been received, allowing the new Royce Translational Centre to be built next to the university’s Factory 2050 site - part of its Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
The new 1,000 sq metre facility has the potential to generate almost £700m for the Sheffield City Region and will support existing companies which employ a total of more than 13,800 people, the university claims.
The funding announcement ends a period of uncertainty following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and comes as a further boost to the area’s economy.
Last month, Sheffield Council signed a 60-year investment deal worth £1bn with Chinese firm Sichuan Guodong Construction Group which is expected to fund up to five projects in the city centre.
“Today is a significant milestone in the UK’s growing reputation for advanced manufacturing research which is being rapidly translated into industrial advantage, global orders and jobs,” university boss Sir Keith said.
“The University of Sheffield is delighted to be taking a lead in this crucial area, and the confirmation of EU funding underwritten by the Chancellor is the news we have been waiting for.
“The new Royce Translational Centre will provide businesses with access to the most prestigious and advanced research, innovation and equipment - bridging gaps within the UK supply chain and developing the world-leading products and processes that will help re-shore key parts of manufacturing and drive the UK’s economy forward.”
He said the project will drive investment in the North.
“As chair of the Sheffield City Region Science and Innovation Board, I am particularly delighted about what this will mean for our region, as well as the UK as a whole. This kind of initiative is key to building on our existing expertise, increase sales and jobs for businesses large and small and drive inward investment to the North.”
The new facility - which will be part of the £235m Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials - will be used develop research on how metal powders can be more effectively used within industry sectors such as aerospace, automotive, energy and medical high-value manufacturing.
Ultimately, its goal will be to give manufacturing firms the chance to adopt next generation technology to produce and process metal powders.