The Hubs will pioneer new practices to ensure these established manufacturing sectors can meet evolving industry need, seize new opportunities and tackle key issues such as sustainability and productivity.
The SUSTAIN Manufacturing Hub for steel will be led by Professor David Worsley at Swansea University. It has been co-created by the five major UK steel producers (Tata, Liberty, British Steel, Celsa, and Sheffield Forgemasters) and the three principal universities that have expertise in this area (Swansea, Warwick and Sheffield).
It aims to provide academic leadership in steel innovation, influence policy, work with existing hubs and speed the implementation of research findings through to manufacture.
The ambition is to radically transform the carbon intensity of the process of producing the world's most widely used advanced material and at the same time tailor its application to emerging manufacturing opportunities for electrification of transport, manufactured buildings and sustainable packaging. It will also look to embed the industry in communities essentially as energy hubs.
The two other hubs are the Future Biomanufacturing Research and the Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing hub. The Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub (FBRH) will be led by Professor Nigel Scrutton at The University of Manchester, with spokes at Imperial, UCL, Nottingham, the UK Catalysis Hub, IBioIC and CPI.
The Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub will be led by Professor Geraint Jewell at the University of Sheffield, with spokes at Newcastle University and the University of Strathclyde.
The addition of these three takes the total number of Manufacturing Hubs to 13 across the UK, building comprehensive research support for the government’s Industrial Strategy.
Industry Minister Richard Harrington said: “This investment brings together world-class researchers and leading manufacturing firms to help revolutionise how key industries like steel operate in the future.
“These developments will help us build a smarter, greener and more efficient manufacturing sector in the UK, which is a key part of our modernIndustrial Strategy to harness the opportunities of clean growth creating more high-skilled jobs.
“We are determined to ensure the UK sets the global best standard for making our energy intensive industries competitive in the new clean economy.”
Professor Lynn Gladden, EPSRC’s executive chair, said: “There’s a real need to mesh fundamental research with our manufacturing industries. By doing so, we can ensure that research is relevant to industrial need but also that UK businesses can be in touch with the latest developments in their fields. These three new Manufacturing Hubs cover industries that are important to the UK’s future capacity to make products sustainably and improve the country’s prosperity.”