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UK manufacturers to benefit from new £50m data innovation hub

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·Business Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
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UK manufacturers assemble cars at the plant for the Mini range of cars in Cowley, near Oxford
Almost 10,000 UK manufacturers are expected to benefit from the new hub in total, supporting as many as 13,000 jobs in Britain. Photo: Leon Neal/Reuters

UK manufacturers are set to have their productivity and competitiveness boosted thanks to a new data innovation hub led by Ulster University.

The £50m ($62m) Smart Manufacturing Data Hub (SMDH) will support small and medium-sized manufacturers to capture and better utilise their data, helping them increase productivity, growth and sustainability.

It will first be accessible to small and medium manufacturers in Northern Ireland in the coming months, before going live for companies across the rest of the UK.

Industry minister Lee Rowley announced on Wednesday that businesses across a variety of sectors will be supported, including food and drink and aerospace, amongst others. They will develop, test and adopt the latest data-driven technologies.

Almost 10,000 manufacturers are expected to benefit from the new hub in total, supporting as many as 13,000 jobs in Britain. This will also help to boost economic growth and level-up regions across the UK.

Read more: UK manufacturing production hits seven-month high as supply chain pressures ease

The hub will be supported by a funding of £20m from the UK government backed Made Smarter Innovation Programme, along with £30m of business co-investment.

A dedicated £5m fund will then provide companies with grants to make further improvements in areas of critical importance to their business.

The programme will be backed across the rest of the UK by 12 delivery partners, including the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing, Industry Wales and Scottish Engineering.

Watch: Michael Gove sets out ‘levelling up’ plans to reshape the UK

“As we embrace the digital manufacturing revolution, it is vital manufacturers across the UK can capitalise on the productivity and growth gains that come with adopting the latest data-led digital technologies,” UK Industry Minister Lee Rowley said.

“The Smart Manufacturing Data Hub, backed by £20m of government funds, will support companies to implement cutting edge production and process techniques themselves, helping bring the next generation of products to our shelves in a more efficient and sustainable way.”

Read more: UK factory output hits six-month high

Professor Liam Maguire, pro vice chancellor of research at Ulster University said: “Made Smarter provides the opportunity for innovative collaboration that will be transformative in driving industry competitiveness.

“At Ulster University, we have a strong track record of collaboration; using our research and technology to act as a catalyst for change, innovation and positive economic, social and environmental impact. Made Smarter is another important project in the broader realisation of the Derry and Strabane City Deal agenda, further enhancing the attractiveness of investment and driving economic growth”

Watch: How does inflation affect interest rates?

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