The achievements of collaboration between the Advanced Sustainable manUfacturing TEchnologies (ASTUTE) project and Welsh enterprises in the Convergence Area were showcased recently (Thursday, May 14), at an event at the Towers Hotel, Jersey Marine, supported by the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates.
Led by Swansea University, in collaboration with Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Cardiff Metropolitan, Glyndŵr, University of South Wales and University of Wales Trinity Saint David universities, the ASTUTE project combines the latest innovations, specialist expertise and state-of-the-art facilities in advanced manufacturing from all eight Welsh universities.
Since its launch in 2010 the five-year, £25million project, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through Welsh Government, has already supported over 290 businesses in the Convergence Area.
The Deputy Minister was the guest speaker at the project’s ‘reflecting on ASTUTE success event’, as it enters its final months.
ASTUTE is the only structural funds project with collaboration from all Welsh Universities, offering Welsh manufacturers the opportunity to collaborate in a straight forward manner with renowned academic and industry experts in the fields of science, engineering and business, providing cutting-edge, sustainable solutions to real manufacturing challenges.
The Deputy Minister said: “The collaboration between academia and industry is an area the Welsh Government has been encouraging and supporting for many years. And I am truly pleased that the EU funded ASTUTE project is at the very forefront of this endeavour.”
A number of the project officers from ASTUTE presented some interesting case studies of their collaboration with industry, demonstrating the ‘ground level’ impact ASTUTE has had to business in Wales over the last five years. ASTUTE was joined by representatives from a number of these companies who have already given their support for a follow on project.
Having already exceeded initial targets and generating over £6.6 million in increased manufacturing investment for Wales, other notable achievements have included the establishment of nine new enterprises, the creation of more than 158 new jobs, the launch or implementation of more than 340 new or improved products, processes and service innovations, as well as the patenting or trademarking of 42 unique product or process ideas.
An independently compiled report came to the conclusion that ASTUTE’s work created economic impact of well in excess of £200M in West Wales and the Valleys showing that for each £1 invested an outstanding return of over £8 of economic impact was achieved.
Successes have also been achieved in encouraging companies to adopt better environmental and equality practices, as well as to embrace more waste-efficient, lean manufacturing processes.
Looking to the future, Professor Sienz added: “Based on the outstanding success and high economic impact the ASTUTE partnership delivered for West Wales and the Valleys and the continued demand from industry to collaborate with Welsh universities using their world class expertise, discussions with the funding agency are under way to continue the support for the Welsh manufacturing industry for further job creation and impact generation.”
- Wednesday 20 May 2015 01.00 BST
- Wednesday 20 May 2015 16.09 BST
- Swansea University, Tel: 01792 295050