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Wed, 21 October 2020

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Advanced manufacturing can lead the way back to economic prosperity post-pandemic

Advanced manufacturing can lead the way back to economic prosperity post-pandemic

The manufacturing community can deliver for the planet in a similar way it delivered for the country in its time of need, says Dick Elsy | Credit : HVM Catapult

Dick Elsy, Chief Executive | High Value Manufacturing Catapult

4 min read Partner content

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult will step forward to play a key part in our economic resurgence

Times of crisis tend bring out the best in people and organisations.

Today, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult has released its annual review, demonstrating the importance of our sector across the UK.

From our involvement in the Vaccines Task Force to the engineering and production of protective screens to be used to protect clinical staff in an intensive care environment, I am immensely proud of the tireless commitment of our Centres in stepping up to help. 

There was also my personal involvement in the UK Ventilator Challenge.

When faced with the crisis of insufficient ventilators to meet the forecast peak demand driven by COVID-19, the UK government put out a call to arms to manufacturers to repurpose production lines to build ventilators.

The HVM Catapult responded immediately.

As the natural go-to place to build collaborations and provide overall leadership, we formed a national consortium of some of the biggest UK industrial companies to rise to the challenge.

Our Centres also stepped up with engineering resources, factory space and the knowhow to deliver complex remote training tools using virtual and augmented reality. 

The results from the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium have been extraordinary and show the convening capability of the HVM Catapult and the deep trust placed in it to organise the delivery a programme of true national scale in a breathtakingly short timeframe.

It has shown British industry and the HVM Catapult at its best.

Covid-19 has not been the only challenge we have faced this year.

The first three quarters of the year were dominated with the uncertainty around international trade which had a clear impact on our business and that of our client companies, battling with investment risks.

This led to the softening of some of our markets which propelled our Centres to work hard to diversify their sector and technology portfolios and which has resulted in greater financial and operational resilience.

This resilience has led to a remarkably good set of financial and operational results for the year.

The HVM Catapult has continued on its double-digit growth trajectory which has resulted in us becoming the most significant advanced manufacturing research body in Europe.

We are determined to use this preeminent position to help industry to get back on its feet after the Covid-19 crisis and, importantly, keep the torch lit for innovation.

This will be crucial to our competitiveness as all nations fight to return to a new normal.

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult can use its unique position at the intersection of industry, academia, and government, and its role as the custodian of our national capability in advanced manufacturing technology to spur clean growth right across the nation. 

We will also use this opportunity to show leadership in driving progress towards achieving net zero by 2050.

I know that the manufacturing community can deliver for the planet in a similar way it delivered for the country in its time of need.

As the UK rebuilds, a vibrant, innovation-led manufacturing sector will be a critical ingredient of the clean growth that will position the UK to lead the challenges of a net zero future economy.

It will also be key to our long-term national resilience giving us the ability to respond when difficult challenges emerge without the dependence on other nations.

 A deliberate approach, building on existing national and regional strengths and enabling new industries of the future, has the potential to level up manufacturing and construction activity across the UK.

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult can use its unique position at the intersection of industry, academia, and government, and its role as the custodian of our national capability in advanced manufacturing technology to spur clean growth right across the nation. 

We can bring our insight and expertise, our world-leading facilities and the trusting relationships we have established to help forge a refreshed and more resilient UK economy that works better for more of its citizens.

In the coming year, our Centres across the country will work with local, regional and national Governments to lead the way forward.

We will reach into the UK’s manufacturing communities and help firms of all sizes to harness the new knowledge flowing from our world-leading research base and the power of new technology. 

We will work to make sure that UK businesses are ready to rise to the challenges and seize the opportunities our changed world presents.

As we do so we will use our resources to spur the investment in R&D that will keep the UK ahead of competitive markets and re-establish its position as a leader on the global stage, particularly in the international imperative of reducing carbon emissions.

The pandemic has hit all of us hard. We know that the coming year will present many new challenges for the UK but the nation will return to better times.

With leadership and investment, the country can emerge from the pandemic in a strong global position.

 

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