Parks and innovation

Lessons from Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Park

How can policymakers foster business innovation within local and national industrial strategy? This report sets out lessons from Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Park, which is helping to transform the city region from a place of low-cost production to one of high-value knowledge output

Publication published on 14 May 2019 by Anthony Breach

Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), which contains the core of
the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC),
is helping transform Sheffield City Region’s economy from a place for low-cost
production to a place for high-value knowledge production.

The AMRC is a research institution based on the AMP that links researchers
and academics with firms in the advanced manufacturing sector around the UK
and the rest of the world. Large multinationals such as Boeing, BAE Systems,
McLaren, as well as smaller supply chain firms, have operations on the site or tap into
the research that takes place there.

Key findings

  • The AMP has a concentration of highly-productive exporting work.
  • The AMP is attractive to advanced manufacturing firms because it is a
    hub of knowledge and applied research expertise.
  • The AMP highlights the importance of place as the integrator of the
    other four pillars of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
  • Access to knowledge drives economic differences across places.
  • Activities in one place often have benefits in other places.
  • The open-source approach to research has enabled the AMRC’s
    success.

Aerial view of Advanced Manufacturing Park and a map showing its location in Sheffield City Region

Policy Recommendations

The National Government should:

• Encourage other advanced manufacturing parks to replicate
the AMRC’s university partnership and open-source research
model.
• Expand the AMP and other advanced manufacturing estates in
response to demand.
• Devolve the Adult Education Budget to metro mayors.
• Increase the intensity and application of R&D.

Local Government should:

• Support the knowledge economy and exporting jobs as a whole,
rather than one specific sector.
• Enable diffusion of innovation.

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