Growth expert's visit fuels hopes of creating Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District

15 January 2015

International expert on economic growth Bruce Katz praised the AMRC with Boeing during his visit to the Sheffield City Region.

Mr Katz is vice president of the Brookings Institution, the independent policy research organisation, a former advisor to President Obama and founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Programme.

Brookings is focusing on metropolitan areas because they are at the heart of the economy, hubs of research and innovation, centres of human resources and gateways to trade and the same is true of areas like the Sheffield City Region in the UK.

During his visit to the AMRC, Mr Katz toured its Factory of the Future headquarters, the Nuclear AMRC, Castings Technology International operations, Integrated Manufacturing Group, Training Centre and Design, Prototyping and Testing Centre.

Mr Katz went on to visit the site where the AMRC's Factory 2050 - the UK's first totally reconfigurable digital factory - is being built on Sheffield Business Park.

Speaking at the end of his visit, Mr Katz praised the AMRC for the way it had evolved, the collaboration between different partners and the way it spread solutions developed for one particular industrial cluster to others.

"The development has been really organic - and that is just the way the world works. It has evolved in a very interesting way," said Mr Katz.

"It was very interesting to see solutions developed within one cluster being applied to others. That seems to be emblematic of some bigger dynamism in advanced manufacturing industry."

Bruce Katz's visit was hailed by AMRC Executive Dean, Prof Keith Ridgway, CBE, as a major opportunity for the region to build its reputation for being at the cutting edge of Advanced Manufacturing developments.

Prof Ridgway said: "Bruce Katz is a global expert on the development of Innovation Districts, which bring economic growth and help to create clusters of companies ranging from original equipment manufacturers to smaller suppliers and start ups.

"Construction of the AMRC's Factory 2050, the UK's first, totally reconfigurable, digital factory, on Sheffield Business Park, together with the existing facilities on the Advanced Manufacturing Park give this region a significant opportunity to develop its own Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District.

"Bruce Katz is in a position to provide crucial advice on how this region can achieve that aim and further re-enforce its status as the heart of advanced manufacturing in the UK."

Following his visit to the AMRC, Mr Katz was due to meet representatives from Sheffield and Rotherham's local authorities, deliver a public lecture sponsored by the University of Sheffield and visit a number of local companies.

Picture Caption: Bruce Katz, vice president of the Brookings Institution (left) and AMRC Executive Dean, Prof Keith Ridgway, pictured in the AMRC Factory of the Future.

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