Following an outline business case approval by the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, the Wrexham Glyndŵr University Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre (EEOC) is closer to securing Growth Deal funding.
The project will be delivered across two University sites, St Asaph and Plas Coch in Wrexham. The aim is to help manufacturing businesses in the region to decarbonise. It will explore the integrated use of optics, photonics and composites as alternative, lighter-weight solutions with applications across all specialisms of manufacturing.
The urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and waste from manufacturing businesses is well-known, as are the potential benefits such as cost and efficiency savings. However, ever-changing technology and countless options can be daunting for many businesses. The Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre aims to bridge the gap by providing facilities and researchers from the University to work with businesses to explore solutions.
Businesses will be able to use the facilities to fabricate and test materials and components within a controlled environment. The intention is that this will lead to products and systems which are more efficient and require less energy, minimising costs and emissions. The project will create local employment opportunities and aims to attract inward investment into the region.
Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn, Leader of Gwynedd County Council, said:
We are pleased that the Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre has reached this milestone. It is the first project within the Innovation in High Value Manufacturing programme to reach this stage. There’s no doubt that the project can drive product development in low carbon technologies, critical to the future success of regional businesses.
Approval of this stage means the project can now move forward to detailed project design and is a step closer to securing £9.85 million of the Growth Deal investment. Its funding application also set out how the project would leverage further investment as a part of the University’s wider Campus 2025 redevelopment
Professor Aulay Mackenzie, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Partnerships) at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, added:
Located in North East Wales, Wrexham Glyndŵr University has strong links with industry in the surrounding region and strong strategic partnerships with employers and industry. Investment from the North Wales Growth Deal is vital to the construction of the Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre, a key element in the refurbishment and upgrading of facilities at our Wrexham and St Asaph sites.
Building on existing expertise and strategic links within the University, the new Centre and provision of cutting-edge equipment will enable expansion of our research capacity to support local manufacturing businesses of all types to meet the pressing need to become more efficient and reduce carbon emissions.’
The next step will be for the project to deliver a full business case, which will enable work to begin on the Centre. The aim is to start construction towards the end of 2023, with an opening date estimated for 2025.