Royce Partner in new regional centre

New innovation centre represents a BIG BANG for regional economic prosperity

Plans for a new innovation centre set to turbo charge the local economy and bring millions of pounds of investment to Rochdale and the wider region were revealed to North West business leaders on 5 March 2024.

Located on the Atom Valley site, which is already slated to bring 20,000 new highly skilled roles within world-class businesses, the Centre of Expertise in Advanced Materials and Sustainability (CEAMS) will focus on providing state-of-the-art green manufacturing solutions. Advanced materials are designed to cut down on waste and increase sustainability, making them crucial for business and the environment.

Speaking this morning at Rochdale Town Hall, advanced materials were described by the Chief Executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Katherine Bennett as:

“Once the stuff of science fiction.”

“the development and use of advanced materials has already opened up a world of possibilities.”

The new Centre will also be central to ensuring a growing and prosperous local economy in the North West:

“CEAMS represents a big bang for regional economic prosperity”

according to Rochdale Borough Council Leader, Neil Emmott who opened the launch event today. He went on to highlight: “CEAMS is a once in a lifetime project that will secure the future and change the face of not just Rochdale but of the North West.”

The North West of England remains the biggest manufacturing area in the UK, worth £28.2bn and employing over 300,000 people.

CEAMS is part of a wider strategy to cement the regions reputation as the hub of manufacturing in the UK and is also a key component of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s (DSIT) Innovation Accelerator programme.

Ms Bennett went on to describe the important role CEAMS will play in delivering that strategy:

“The High Value Manufacturing Catapult will be instrumental in encouraging businesses to participate in CEAMS. Just over a year ago we signed a pledge with Innovation Greater Manchester and the Combined Authority which included a commitment to attract new investment to the region.”

It is hoped that in its initial phase around 50 companies will come and work to develop and scale up their materials technologies at CEAMS.

Royce Head of Research and Business Engagement Dr Ania Jolly said:

“Materials innovation means discovering, developing and exploiting new materials, or indeed enhancing an existing material or applying it to a new material system. CEAMS will help companies with such innovation and support them to scale-up and adopt sustainable materials in manufacturing applications.

“Royce looks forward to supporting companies through their participation in CEAMS, particularly to help them to overcome barriers to adopting advanced sustainable materials and in turn boosting their competitiveness.”

Frank Millar, CEO at CPI said:

“We are looking forward to bringing our 20 years of expertise in the development of advanced materials to this project and collaborating with some of the very best academics and industry leaders, bringing inward investment to Rochdale and the Greater Manchester region.”

This project is funded as a two-year pilot by the Greater Manchester Innovation Accelerator programme.

Led by Innovate UK on behalf of UK Research and Innovation, the pilot Innovation Accelerator programme is investing £100m in 26 transformative R&D projects to accelerate the growth of three high-potential innovation clusters – Glasgow City Region, Greater Manchester and West Midlands.

CEAMS is led by a consortium of expert partners, including: Rochdale Development Agency (RDA), Henry Royce Institute, National Physical Laboratory (NPL), High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVM Catapult) and its centres: Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), National Composites Centre (NCC), Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)  and Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).