Professor John Perkins, Chief Scientific Advisor to BIS, Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board and Bob Gilbert, Chairman of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Sir John Parker, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Judith Hackett, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive were all in attendance on a day that marked the impact CPI has had on the process industry over the past decade. Government recognition of CPI’s achievements was also clearly evident with the attendance of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Rt. Hon Vince Cable MP.
Since 2004 CPI has grown from a company of one to the 227 scientist, engineers and support staff they employ today. The company has grown exponentially year-on-year and has delivered more than 350 public and private projects with a value in excess of £300m, so creating a business with a turnover of more than £15m.
The company was originally set up as part of a government initiative to create five Centres of Excellence to consolidate, build on and exploit the North East’s knowledge in the process industries, digital technology and digital media, nanotechnology and photonics, renewables and life sciences. These centres were established to ensure that the region’s economy remained competitive in the growing global market place.
In the 10 years since its inception, CPI has worked in a number of innovative areas, including Hydrogen Fuel Cell applications, Advanced Processing Chemistries and more recently in Industrial Biotechnology, Anaerobic Digestion, Printable Electronics and Biopharmaceuticals, always at the leading edge of innovation.
In 2011, CPI reached another major milestone and was announced as a founding member of the UK’s first elite technology innovation centre; The High Value Manufacturing Catapult, an initiative designed to catalyse the future growth and success of UK manufacturing.
CPI projects that by the end of the year, it will have invested a total of over £90m in open access facilities for companies of all sizes to utilise in the development, proof of concept and commercialisation of new products and processes. It has established national centres in industrial biotechnology and printable electronics with a new £38m National Biologics Centre under construction and has had interactions with over 2,000 companies, from big pharma and multinational manufacturing organisations to entrepreneurial start-ups and SMEs, alongside universities and government agencies. These companies have been enabled to develop, prove and prototype new products and processes to keep them competitive and profitable in the marketplace.
Commenting on the day, Nigel Perry, CEO Centre for Process Innovation said “I am deeply proud of what CPI has achieved in the first 10 years. CPI is a centre that brings together the very best people and world class assets to deliver world class capability, and it works for industry and it works for the UK. We were delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate this milestone at the Palace of Westminster and to thank our customers and stakeholders for their trust, faith and on-going support. Their time, energy and commitment are hugely valued by the CPI team.”
Ian Swales, MP for Redcar, who hosted the Westminster reception, is the local constituency MP for CPI. He said: “It was a real privilege to host the CPI 10th birthday celebration in Parliament. I have followed their progress closely from day one and they have achieved outstanding success. CPI have fully justified the faith of their investors, including the Government, and been used as a model for other technology innovation centres. I wish them every success for the future.”