Nuclear research facility gets multi-million pound boost

Plans to develop a new nuclear manufacturing research and development facility in Derby have received a £9 million funding boost.

The D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership has awarded Derby City Council £6.875 million from its Getting Building Fund and £2.2 million from its Growing Places Fund – to support the development of a Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) at Infinity Park.

The Nuclear AMRC Midlands building will provide 4,300 sq metres of new floorspace dedicated to research and development, which will support productivity growth and sustainable practises within the manufacturing sector.

It will also help to position Derby as a key advanced manufacturing and innovation hub for the UK nuclear centre and beyond.

Paul Simpson, the city council’s chief executive, said: “This is another step forward for this fantastic project. The proposed facility is great news for Derby’s SME businesses.”

Elizabeth Fagan, chair of the D2N2 LEP Board, said: “Our investments into Infinity Park and the Nuclear AMRC will play a critical role to in developing clusters of highly productive and sustainable businesses across D2N2 and supporting local economic development.”

Bringing together the University of Sheffield’s Nuclear AMRC and the University of Derby’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Manufacturing (IISE), the facility will carry out research, innovation, supply chain development and teaching.

It aims to enhance the skills and capability of businesses in the region and nationally, to support the UK Government objectives for Net Zero by 2050 and growth in manufacturing from 11% GDP to 20% GDP by 2030.

Locally, the facility will support SMEs to improve their productivity by providing access to high quality research and development opportunities, tailored business support and opportunities to upskill their workforce, creating a broader and more resilient economic base.

Workers will have access to specialist training and development to equip them for more productive and higher paid roles.

The Nuclear AMRC Midlands will deliver 70 direct jobs, support 35 collaborative R&D projects and support 100 businesses through the Fit For Nuclear supply chain development programme in its first five years of operation.

Fifty learners will be supported, with a further 50 employees upskilled.

Andrew Storer, chief executive of the Nuclear AMRC, said: “We’re delighted to secure funding for the new facility at Infinity Park, and will continue to work with D2N2, the University of Derby and other local partners to deliver high-value jobs and support the region’s economic recovery.

“With the transition to net-zero emissions at the top of the national and international agenda, there will be huge long-term opportunities for manufacturers of all sizes in nuclear and other low-carbon sectors such as offshore renewables, hydrogen and carbon capture.

“It’s part of our job to help the supply chain in and around Derby to win that work.”

Professor Warren Manning, provost for innovation and research at the University of Derby, said: “Co-locating our Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering with the Nuclear AMRC opens up new possibilities for our academics, who are already engaged in work to help achieve the UK’s decarbonisation and Net Zero goals in sectors such as rail and logistics.

“The support of D2N2 to enable this collaboration will also further enhance Derby’s international reputation as a centre for industrial innovation and help drive the recovery and future prosperity of our city and region.”

Mr Simpson added that he hoped that the Nuclear AMRC Midlands building would help draw more manufacturers to Infinity Park.

He said: “We hope that this will further propel Infinity Park Derby as the manufacturing destination of choice.

“Having a world-class research facility on our doorstep is a huge boost for the city and supports our drive to emerge stronger in our economic recovery.”