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Manufacturing used to conjure up images of simple production lines churning out large quantities of products, sometimes variable in quality, for one-time sale. However today, manufacturing is a far more complex and detailed continuum involving high degrees of creativity, innovation, R&D, logistics and post purchase customer service along a much broader product-life cycle. Manufacturing will always be an important element in the success for UK plc, even more so for the Midlands, often at the heart of the global supply chain.

A significant proportion of manufacturing firms expect design and development to be their most important source of comparative advantage. In order to support this innovation in continued product / market development, it is important for the right mix of components to be present: research and development expertise, skilled and creative staff, collaborative work environments, access to specialist skills and facilities, etc. Such a mix can be found in the Midlands and will soon be complemented further with the opening of the new Science, Technology & Prototyping Centre at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park, due to open in summer 2017.

With a focus on the Smart Specialisation sectors for the Black Country: aerospace, automotive, construction and life sciences, the new £10.1M facility will provide high quality resources for science-based businesses, including those in the High Value Manufacturing supply chain. For the first time, Category 1 and Category 2 laboratories will be available for firms operating from the Science Park. There will also be some smaller laboratories, fitted out and ready to hire on short term agreements, to help businesses / entrepreneurs get over those initial financial and infrastructure barriers when looking to get their new products to market quickly.

Resident businesses will also be able to benefit from access to a number of specialist facilities located less than a mile away at the University’s new £21M Rosalind Franklin Science Centre, where highly skilled students, graduates and staff are also available to help drive innovative ideas forward.

Another benefit is the ability to work with one, or more, of the university’s 14 Research Centres, all of which had elements of their research rated as world-leading by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework; demonstrating the positive impact their research has in the real world.

If you would like to find out more about this exciting development please contact Lynsey Whitfield Lynsey.Whitfield@wlv.ac.uk or e-mail enquiries@wolverhamptonsp.co.uk to be kept up to date with developments and added to our mailing list.

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