South Yorkshire has ambitions to create an innovation revolution in advanced manufacturing and technology that could strengthen its links with India, if the UK government moves forward with its plans to create an ‘MIT for the North’ in the region.
Referring to a scheme which would be similar to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), South Yorkshire is planning to become home to a world-leading institution in the north to rival Oxford and Cambridge, which could help the region to further advance its work, particularly with Indian companies.
South Yorkshire is being championed for the new MIT because it is already home to the Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre (AMRC), which provides world-leading capabilities in machining, casting, welding, robotics and automation, and would complement the work of an MIT.
Kevin McCole, Managing Director at the UK India Business Council (UKIBC), said: “No doubt there are great opportunities for UK and Indian companies to successfully collaborate, particularly when the UK’s advanced technology and expertise in innovation is paired with India’s manufacturing capabilities and growing market.
Prime Minister Modi has consistently pushed India to become a global hub for manufacturing. Progress is being made, and to truly succeed, in a world where manufacturing is increasingly knowledge-intensive, India will need to futureproof important areas such as digital and technology, higher education, and advanced manufacturing. The presence of the new MIT in the Sheffield City Region would support all of these key areas, thereby boosting the region’s attractiveness to Indian businesses and helping to attract talent from around the world.”
The Sheffield City Region Metro Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “The Sheffield City Region is the natural home for the MIT of the North. We are already home to world-leading assets like the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and our partnership with government, universities, private sector and local authorities mean we stand ready to become a magnet for investment, innovation and talent, unlocking economic growth across the North of England, and the rest of the UK.
The same capabilities that put the city-region at the heart of the world’s first industrial revolution can put us at the centre of the next – producing new materials, new processes, and new answers to the challenges facing the UK and the world, including in design and manufacturing, and health and well-being.”
Sir Nigel Knowles, International Advisor to the Sheffield City Region Metro Mayor Dan Jarvis, said: “Sheffield is renowned as a centre of excellence for manufacturing and has tremendous industrial heritage, as well as being the place where stainless steel was invented.
“Having an MIT in our region would open up huge opportunities to extend our work with India, which is a really key market for us, as we share so many synergies and see great collaboration opportunities, particularly where we can help digitise Indian businesses.”
The Sheffield City Region is recognised worldwide for its expertise in high precision engineering, metals and alloy production and high-quality design and manufacturing of products for a wide range of global industries.
The AMRC and the nearby Nuclear AMRC in the Sheffield City Region are part of a national network of hubs created with the intention of giving a huge boost to Britain’s innovation capability.
They act as a powerful magnet for some of the best and brightest young engineers in the world, working on bespoke projects and helping to drive improvements in performance and quality for its partners. The AMRC’s remit is to carry out research into cutting-edge manufacturing, machining, and materials while also functioning as an innovation centre. One of its key objectives is to develop and help bring new products and processes to the market.
In addition to major manufacturers and high-profile tech ventures, such as Boeing, McLaren and Rolls Royce, the AMRC also works with international companies, for example, those based in India and China, on innovation projects.
In 2017, the Sheffield City Region introduced the strategy: ‘Make in India, Design and Develop with the Sheffield City Region’. Since then, the relationship between the Sheffield City Region and India has grown and developed and has been able to open up greater trading opportunities.
Its latest initiative is the India Growth Champions Scheme, a programme designed to bring 10 South Yorkshire companies to work much more closely with Indian companies, culminating in a trade mission to the country in 2021.