Massive double boost for manufacturing sector in the North East
Sunderland University and IAMP schemes both aim to bring jobs into the region.
The North East's advanced manufacturing sector has been given a double boost with major steps forward on two high-profile schemes.
Sunderland University has secured £5.1m to deliver its Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing project, which is set to create jobs and unlock growth in the region.
And planning permission has been granted for the first phase of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), which spans land in Sunderland and South Tyneside and is aiming to provide sites for companies in the Nissan supply chain and the wider advanced manufacturing sector.
Advanced manufacturing has been singled out by the North East LEP as a key area for growth, with hopes that the region can build on existing strengths to bring high quality jobs to the area.
The Sunderland University scheme aims to help manufacturing SMEs to be more productive and sustainable by finding solutions to their research, innovation and development challenges and helping them to develop their products, processes and technology.
The university has received £2.6m from the European Regional Development Fund towards the project, with additional contributions from industry and the university.
University vice-chancellor Shirley Atkinson said: "Through the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing project our university's highly experienced engineering team will support SMEs with research and help to develop solutions to the challenges and barriers they face.
"This project is the next step towards realising our ambition to be the North East's lead university for advanced manufacturing and we're excited to get started on unlocking the region's latent growth potential."
The announcement of the university scheme came just a few hours after councillors in Sunderland approved a planning application for 61 hectares of the site north of Nissan to be developed into 1.6m sq ft of advanced manufacturing space.
There are hopes that the site could eventually create up to 7,800 jobs and bring £400m of private investment into the region.
Sunderland City Council leader Graham Miller said: "The IAMP is one of the most significant developments that the region has seen in decades.
"Thousands of people will be employed by businesses that will be located on this world-leading advanced manufacturing park, and it will be truly transformational for the city, the wider region and the national economy.
"We are delighted that planning has been approved for the first phase of this development and look forward to delivering a location that will act as a magnet for inward investment, keen to tap into the opportunities in Sunderland and South Tyneside."
Helen Golightly, executive director at the North East LEP, said: "This is welcome news and we can now look forward to advance infrastructure works starting over the summer to create the next phase of industrial development that will further consolidate the position of the North East as a major national and European hub for automotive and advanced engineering.
"This news comes on the back of the Government decision last year to support the North East's LEP plans for an Enterprise Zone on IAMP to help further stimulate and support private sector investment. We look forward to working with the IAMP Delivery Team and to welcoming new businesses to the site in the not too distant future."