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£25m boost for aerospace research programme

Business secretary Vince Cable has announced an additional £25 million government funding to support high value manufacturing.

The investment in the second phase of the Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK through Leading Environmental Technology (SAMULET) programme is aimed at originating manufacturing processes to increase productivity and make better use of resources.

Two industry partners, Rolls-Royce and GKN Aerospace, are providing a further £40m for a series of collaborative research and technology projects.

The SAMULET programme will involve collaborations between four members of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult: the Advanced Forming Research Centre, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the Manufacturing Technology Centre and the National Composites Centre. The University of Birmingham is also part of the consortium.

They will work on eight projects focusing primarily on aerospace but with potential applications in other areas of industry. They will aim to reduce material usage, cut processing time and reduce energy consumption. The projects also aim to improve component performance by developing manufacturing methods that reduce variability in the finished product.

Through the Technology Strategy Board, the government is proposing to invest £15m in capital equipment for the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

Cable made the announcements on 21 June when visiting the Rotherham site where Rolls Royce is to build its advanced blade-casting facility, where more than 150 high-skilled jobs will be created making aircraft engine components.

He said, “Our investment in manufacturing research and technology is a good example of Government and business working together to deliver growth. This type of research will help ensure the UK stays at the forefront of advanced manufacturing. That is particularly true in sectors such as aerospace where we have a world leading position – and are determined to keep it that way.”