Construction company Morgan Ashurst has been appointed lead contractor for the £130 million Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, responsible for the initial £15 million building project.
The MTC will be the second key development at Ansty Park, a technology and research park which provides 1.5 million square feet of space, destined to be a new home for science, technology and innovation in the UK.
The MTC project is being jointly funded by Advantage West Midlands (AWM) and East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and represents one of the largest public sector investments in manufacturing for many years, with AWM and emda funding the initial £40 million building and research equipment costs. A further £90 million public and private sector revenue funding is planned over the next ten years.
It will be housed in a 12,000 square metre purpose-built facility at Ansty Park in Coventry which has been specifically developed with research and technology occupiers in mind. The wider 100-acre site represents a £300 million investment to generate some 5,000 jobs, with the MTC alone providing up to 150 highly skilled jobs.
The MTC has been established and is run by the founding research partners which include the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham, Loughborough University and TWI Ltd, the operating division of The Welding Institute.
It will allow the researchers to demonstrate new processes to would-be manufacturers in an industrial setting, showing them new processes in action before they take the major financial risk of putting them into practice.
Major companies signed up to the MTC project to date are Rolls-Royce, Aero Engine Controls and Airbus in the UK and they will be undertaking significant research and development manufacturing projects at this world-class facility.
Peter Flinn, interim director of the MTC, said: "We took a long, hard look at six construction firms, whittled down from twenty-one, who expressed initial interest. We believe that Morgan Ashurst is best placed to deliver us a 21st century facility for developing 21st century technology.
"The MTC provides a real step change for national manufacturing. By bridging the gap between academic research and commercial production the MTC will meet the needs and requirements of industry in a way which has not been achieved until now."
Morgan Ashurst - which is headquartered in Stratford-upon-Avon and has a local office in Solihull - will undertake the initial construction of the MTC, which is worth £15 million. Area director Dave Smith said: “We are delighted to be appointed to this innovative scheme to create a landmark research and development facility and become part of the MTC team which will benefit the local community and economy."
Mick Laverty, Chief Executive at Advantage West Midlands, said: “It will be great to see the first sod turned after many months of negotiation with partners to bring the MTC from concept to reality. Through cutting edge research and development, the MTC aims to not only change the face of manufacturing in the Midlands, but the world.
"The major players from academia and large corporate businesses involved in the MTC are just the type of occupiers we want to attract to the Ansty Park site, alongside existing occupier Ericsson. The MTC is set to be a key development in Britain's manufacturing future and means Ansty Park is fast becoming home to some of the world's most progressive organisations."
Bryan Jackson, Chairman of East Midlands Development Agency (emda), which also takes the lead role for manufacturing on behalf of England's regional development agencies, said: "emda and Advantage West Midlands have come together to provide the funds for the MTC because we recognise the vital importance of manufacturing to the economies of the East and West Midlands.
"Once completed, we will have a world-class research and development facility which will enable our manufacturing businesses to exploit new ideas, enabling companies to bring exciting, new and innovative products to market.”
Businesses who want to learn more about the Ansty Park site should contact Steve Holland and Alex Reynolds at the Advantage West Midlands Development Team on 0121 380 3500, or visit www.anstypark.co.uk