£11m facility to help Lancashire businesses

The future: An artist's impression of the new building
The future: An artist's impression of the new building
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Lancashire businesses will be able to access cutting-edge facilities and equipment as part of a £11.3m development at Lancaster University.

The Collaborative Technology Access Programme (cTAP) will include a purpose-built facility that will offer businesses managed access to a suite of instrumentation and facilities worth almost £7m.

The new building will sit alongside Lancaster’s new Department of Chemistry and also include the provision of additional instrumentation to Lancaster’s Department of Physics, currently ranked number one in the UK on the basis of the quality of its research.

The investment has been made in response to market demand assessment from advanced manufacturing companies in and beyond the North West.

The facility will be constructed on Lancaster University’s campus over the next 12 months and is set to open in autumn 2015.

Part-funded by £9m from the North West operational Programme for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the cTAP facility will support advanced manufacturing SMEs and larger companies operating in, and inwardly investing into, the North West to develop new products and services by providing equipment and facilities that are currently inaccessible.

Instrumentation available for use by businesses through collaborative research programmes with the university will include: nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, worth £1.7m; chromatography and mass spectrometry instruments, worth £1.5m, and many other analytical and diagnostic instruments .

Professor Andrew Atherton, deputy vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, said: “A real barrier to innovation in the UK is the inability of fast-growing entrepreneurial businesses to access high-end specialist equipment. Access to the best manufacturing equipment is especially important for businesses in the North West, one of Britain’s manufacturing and engineering hubs.

“Without specialist equipment, businesses can suffer delays in product development and improvements, leading to lost opportunities for business growth and job creation.”