Innovation is critical to the future of manufacturing | CPI

Innovation is critical to the future of manufacturing

On Wednesday 25th November, innovation was recognised as the key component in creating a world beating, sustainable manufacturing industry at the Centre for Process Innovation’s (CPI) annual conference, From Innovation to Commercialisation, in London.

As the widely acknowledged model for the UK Government’s Catapult network of technology and innovation centres, CPI was commended on the role it has played in ensuring the evolution and growth of the manufacturing industry in the UK, and the global marketplace.

Delivering the key note speech, the Rt. Hon Vince Cable, MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills focused on the crucial role innovation has played and will continue to play in terms of securing the long term future of UK manufacturing. Ian Murray, MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills reinforced this message by highlighting the extensive commercial achievements of CPI and its vital contribution to the Government’s Catapult network, while acknowledging cross party endorsement for the programme now and going forward. In addition, Professor Sir Mike Gregory of the Institute for Manufacturing discussed why the industry must create and capture value and how this can be achieved in real terms. However, at the heart of all presentations given on the day was the need for collaboration between academia, industrialists, businesses, funding streams and skills providers – which was identified as being intrinsic to successful innovation.

Through a series of presentations and working panels, CPI demonstrated how its structured innovation process enables its partners to prove that manufacturing processes can be conducted economically and repeatedly to fully substantiate the product’s viability. To this end, partners including Applied Graphene Materials, and PolyPhotonix acted as case studies to showcase the wide ranging capabilities and expertise of CPI.

Nigel Perry, Chief Executive, CPI said: The theme of our conference was innovation, which is the foundation of our business and over the last ten years we have proved we are very good at it. Since our inception we have learnt what innovation is, what is needed to do it, and we have delivered enormous value to industry and the UK in the process. To date we have completed more than £300m of projects delivering more than £2.3bn of value to the UK. We have won more than €150m worth of EU projects and this year we aim to turn over £18m.

Today we learnt that for the UK to capitalise on its world leading science base, it must continue to focus on translation – on innovation. It is a fact that modern manufacturing nations such as Germany, France and Finland, spend between three and ten times more on translation and innovation than they do on university based research. Yet we spend nearly ten times more on university research than we do on translation and innovation. We must redress the balance to ensure there is no downturn in economic growth and that we do not lose our competitive edge.

In the immediate short term at CPI, we are looking forward to developing and delivering the National Formulation Centre, bringing on stream the £38m National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, and the £14m National Graphene Applications Centre. These three centres will support Industry to create substantial value for the UK. We will continue to develop spin-out companies, we will build on our skill development work with universities and with Industry, providing industry with the skills it craves to exploit new technology and we will build closer relationships with our world-leading university research partners to ensure that industry has access to innovation based on leading science.” Speaking at the conference the Rt. Hon Vince Cable, MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said: Today’s conference demonstrates the importance of innovation to our manufacturing industry. Through the Catapult network we are showing that Government and business must work together in partnership to support innovation”. Over 150 delegates attended the conference, which was chaired by BBC News Business Editor, Steph McGovern and held at Altitude 360, Millbank Tower, London.