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    NAA Event Review: North of England Robotics Innovation Centre (NERIC)

    Last month saw our latest member networking event take place at the North of England Robotics Innovation Centre (NERIC), based at the University of Salford, where we were welcomed by Business Development Manager, Tabs Khojani and Director for Strategic Partnerships and NAA Advisory Board Member, Mike Brown.

    NERIC is a new £16 million robotics centre, which is part of the Salford Crescent & University District Masterplan and houses specialist equipment to design, test and de-risk investment in robotics and automation.

    It contains three laboratories, covering Machining, Autonomous and Growth.

    Participants were given an overview of business support available, including funded access to academic expertise as NERIC and the University have a diverse pool of industrial and academic expertise, offering robotics and automation solutions for businesses from all industries. They have successfully delivered a £16 million ERDF assistance programme, working with over 100 businesses to solve challenges. UKRI Research England funding is also still available for Greater Manchester-based companies.

    Participants were then given an overview of industrial robot adoption, both globally and regionally. Based on 2022 data, the UK does not feature in the top 15 countries for industrial robot adoption. The EU is the second largest market with 5% growth; UK showed 3% growth. UK robot sales were 2,534 units, less than one-tenth of Germany’s. More locally, looking at productivity levels, a 2022 GMCA Prosperity Report showed that Greater Manchester is at 90% of the UK productivity levels; however this is improving, with 1% of companies in Greater Manchester having already invested in robotics and automation; 67% of companies having invested in some form of automation and 29% are beginning to explore it.

    An overview of the automotive industry highlighted that it has the largest number of robots working in factories worldwide, representing approximately one-third of the total number installed across all industries, with robots used at almost every stage of the manufacturing process and the UK experiencing a surge in adoption of robotics in the automotive industry, with revenue in this sector expected to reach €72.73m in 2024, representing an annual growth rate of 6.82%.

    Participants were then given an overview of the benefits of automation, together with a number of case studies.

    Prior to a tour of the facilities, Mitch Clark from Manchester-based NAA member Marks & Clerk LLP gave a presentation titled “An Introduction to Intellectual Property (IP)”.

    Marks & Clerk have 700 staff worldwide in countries including Canada, China, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Malaysia and Singapore. This includes 150 IP practitioners in UK, with 30 based in Manchester.

    Participants were given an overview of the various types of IP: patents, copyrights, trademarks, designs, together with a summary of the benefits of IP and examples of IP best practice.

    A full copy of the presentation slides are available on request.

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham