New 'capability network' to boost Scotland's manufacturing fortunes post-pandemic

Manufacturing businesses across Scotland can “unlock innovation” amid the post-lockdown recovery thanks to the launch of a network that brings together a range of research, education and training providers.

Spanning the length and breadth of the country, the new “capability network” is being led by the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) and includes partners such as Borders-based Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland Tay Cities Engineering Partnership (TCEP) and SeedPod, a £21 million investment in the food and drink industry to create a centre of excellence for manufacturing in north-east Scotland

The initiative promises an “easy means” for manufacturing firms that work with individual partner organisations to tap into the “vast expertise” across the entire network.

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Companies will also be able to access the capability partners’ own networks including the High Value Manufacturing Catapult through NMIS.

NMIS is a group of manufacturing research and development facilities bringing together industry, academia and the public sector.

NMIS is a group of manufacturing research and development facilities bringing together industry, academia and the public sector. It is operated by the University of Strathclyde and supported by the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council and Renfrewshire Council.

John Reid, National Manufacturing Institute Scotland chief executive, said: “The NMIS Capability Network makes it easier for companies in the Scottish manufacturing and engineering community to tap into and benefit from world-class expertise and capability.

“This is a crucial moment in time as manufacturers seek to navigate complex situations such as the climate emergency and post pandemic recovery. Now is a time to refocus, embrace innovation and seize the opportunities that so often emerge from challenging times.

“Sitting at the cutting edge of manufacturing innovation, the network partners each have a fundamental part to play in developing tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce, improving productivity, and helping companies, and people, in our community prosper.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “The University of Strathclyde is committed to applying its research, expertise and sector-leading approach to partnership working with business, industry and government to help Scotland recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Manufacturing will play a central role in that recovery and through our participation in this new capability network we look forward to helping companies across Scotland to innovate, develop their workforces and to drive economic growth.”

Stephen Good, chief executive of the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, said: “Being part of this network will enable us to realise the potential across Scotland’s capability and, crucially, enhance our ability to provide support to our industry partners who are engaging in their own innovation journeys.”

The network also includes Censis, Energy Skills Partnership and the Scottish Institute for Remanufacturing.

Scottish business minister Ivan McKee added: “As we begin to make our way out of the Covid-19 pandemic and look to rebuild and grow Scotland’s economy, a vibrant and diverse manufacturing sector has never been more critical to long-term recovery and success.

“Our £75 million investment in NMIS continues to deliver strong outcomes even during the challenging times we are facing now – from supporting the initial response to the pandemic to playing a key role in developing and delivering our manufacturing recovery plan.”

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