Multi-million pound partnership announced to build research centre at Peterborough’s university

A new partnership between a triple Queen’s Award winning company and the Combined Authority to help generate more high-skilled jobs in Peterborough has been officially announced.

By Paul Grinnell
Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 11:45 am
Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, right, and  Ranjl Jayawardena, Minister for International Trade, left, visiting Photocentric with managing director Paul Holt, centre, and Paul McGurk, in charge of manufacturing, last September. 
EMN-200917-145346009
Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, right, and Ranjl Jayawardena, Minister for International Trade, left, visiting Photocentric with managing director Paul Holt, centre, and Paul McGurk, in charge of manufacturing, last September. EMN-200917-145346009

3D printing specialist Photocentric, of Oxney Road, has teamed up with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority in a £16.47 million partnership to create a Manufacturing and Materials Research & Development Centre on the new Peterborough university campus.

The centre, which will be built as the second phase of the university, will be home to Photocentric and other innovative companies and will provide students with access to cutting-edge manufacturing technologies.

It will also carry out research into technology which will allow for reduced carbon emissions within business.

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Mayor James Palmer. EMN-180607-184347009

This phase of the £30 million university, called ARU Peterborough, will link academia and industry to establish skills and learning in the heart of the city.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer said: “The vision for the innovation centre is to invest in research today to enable manufacture tomorrow. From prototypes to mass manufacture volumes.

“This facility will speed up the design and launch of new products and be of strategic value to Peterborough’s innovative manufacturing companies.

“The intention is to achieve significant sector-cluster growth, based on technological innovation that will transform the knowledge intensity of products, services and jobs, arresting four decades of decline in prosperity to reset Peterborough’s potential rate of recovery.”

Paul Holt, managing director of Photocentric, which has 30 scientists and won Queen’s Awards - once for enterprise and twice for innovation - said: “As a result of our long-standing commitment to invest significantly in Research and Development we have collaborative partnerships with universities around the world.

“We are therefore delighted to now be in a position where we can advance this activity in our home city.

He added: “The research undertaken at this Centre will directly contribute to developing the manufacturing technologies of the future.

“We are also proud of the important role that the Centre will play in developing the engineers of tomorrow – so vital for the Net Zero economy.

“A strong and innovative manufacturing sector is at the heart of a modern economy and at Photocentric we are helping global businesses today to reimagine their manufacturing processes.

“From new battery technologies to innovative healthcare products, the future of advanced manufacturing presents boundless opportunities, and this centre will play an important role in the development of the disruptive technologies that will shape tomorrow.”

Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “These are exciting times for the development of our university, with the announcement of this innovative new facility which will link the present with the city’s future - a project which I am proud to have been involved with since the very beginning.

“High value manufacturing and knowledge intense businesses have traditionally been key to Peterborough’s economic success, and this new centre will help revitalise those sectors which have suffered in recent years, supporting us in our ambition to attract new cutting-edge businesses to our area.”

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: “The new centre promises to be an excellent addition to the ARU Peterborough campus.

“ARU Peterborough will specialise in offering courses that meet the needs of our local economy, and we are working closely with a range of businesses as we shape the new curriculum.

“Having scientists based on site, carrying out innovative research, will be a huge benefit to our students. At the same time, these businesses will benefit from being able to collaborate and make connections with our highly skilled students and graduates.”

The £30 million university is a partnership between the Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and will open its doors to the first students in September 2022.

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