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Productivity East – a new centre for skills, productivity and engineering for the region

07 October 2021

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A new centre for engineering, technology and management focused on improving productivity and addressing current and future manufacturing global challenges has launched at the University of East Anglia.

Productivity East will be a facility for students, academics and businesses working together to find innovative ways to support the region’s manufacturing and technology sectors.

The £7.4m centre will support businesses to discover practical solutions and help them to create innovations which solve real-world problems now and in the future. Facilities available include a CAD studio, Robotics laboratory alongside the latest technology in 3D printers and CNC lathes and milling machines.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our manufacturing sector is worth £5.2bn and underpins productivity and innovation in other areas, so this facility is an investment in a vital part of our economy and will enable us to grow and compete nationally and internationally.

“UEA is one of the region’s key delivery partners and this project, in the Priority Place area of Norwich, has been designed to improve productivity and innovation, with students, academics and businesses working together to discover practical solutions to current and future challenges.”

Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Prof. Fiona Lettice said: “It’s a very exciting occasion for the University, opening both a new home for the School of Engineering and a major new facility for the regional manufacturing and engineering sector.

“Productivity East is the result of years of collaborative working with NAAME and significant finance contribution from the New Anglia LEP. We are very grateful for the support of these and other key partners. We look forward to continue working with them and regional businesses to meet current and future productivity challenges.”

Productivity East is the region’s new hub for engineering, technology and management. It was supported with £4.5m funding from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal with government and devised in conjunction with New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering (NAAME).

In addition to facilities and equipment being available to regional businesses for testing and prototyping, a range of support services are on offer to both businesses and students.

Productivity East will offer a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme to address skills gaps alongside offering updates on key themes and concepts from expert academics and industry leaders. Students and industries will benefit by working together.

Jamie Thums MBE, NAAME Chair and Chief Operating Officer at Lintott Control Systems said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see NAAME’s intrinsic contribution to the vision of Productivity East come to fruition. The facility will be a key player in improving productivity in the area, helping to address skills gaps and offer creative solutions to meet global challenges. It’s a significant and exciting moment for the region.”

Tech East has been a key delivery partner in its development. Tech East’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Robinson added: “The opening of this new facility represents a really exciting time for Tech East and our community. The state-of-the-art equipment and links to the School of Computing Sciences at UEA represent a major step forward in advancing technology and technology related companies in the region.”

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