Today, the Department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced £300 million of joint government and industry funding to support innovative businesses utilising advanced manufacturing techniques such as robotics, AI, and augmented reality, in order to boost the United Kingdom’s advanced manufacturing capabilities and productivity levels, helping the country build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first £50 million of funding will be allocated to 14 advanced manufacturing projects, involving 30 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), 29 larger firms, and nine universities. The rest of the funding will be disbursed over the next five years.
Some of the projects being worked on include:
A digital robot to help businesses design a bespoke product, which can then be uploaded to a supplier’s website, where it can then be sampled, prototyped, and manufactured rapidly.
Super lightweight aluminium bicycles for children using robots.
Using AI to help businesses design new products.
techUK welcomes the new funding provided by both government and industry. The use of digital technologies to boost advanced manufacturing and productivity and the further adoption of digital technologies across all sectors of the economy will boost create new highly-skilled jobs, boost overall productivity levels, reduce carbon emissions, and help firms grow. Government should evaluate the success of the funding after the first round to build on successes and consider expanding the programme of support beyond the manufacturing sector to other sectors where digital technologies could boost productivity and drive growth.