An organisation that will drive the electric revolution is set to move into a £3m base in Sunderland.
The Government-backed Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) Industrialisation Centre North East, will move into the Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation (SASMI), which has been purchased by Sunderland City Council, in a move that will create a new home that will spur on the development of the region’s advanced manufacturing sector.
The Centre – which is led by Newcastle University – will provide open-access facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, bringing together the UK’s technology and manufacturing expertise in electrification research and development, which is vital to the future of the sector as a whole.
Enabling works will start shortly to allow the DER Industrialisation Centre North East – which will require a specialist fit out – to be accommodated in the property.
The move is one that will ensure that Sunderland and the North East remain at the forefront of advanced manufacturing, with a dedicated centre to support advancements in electrification and give the region a competitive edge in the manufacturing sector, growing the North East’s knowledge economy.
SASMI’s location, adjacent to the Nissan plant and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), means it is well-positioned as a base for the DER Centre.
The original home for DER, on IAMP itself, is currently occupied by the NHS as a Nightingale Hospital, and the move to SASMI will allow the DER Centre to become operational this year and kick-start its support for businesses.
Rachel Chambers, Chief Operating Officer for DER Industrialisation Centre North East, said: “We are thrilled to have found a home in SASMI in Washington, the beating heart of the region’s advanced manufacturing base.
“The North East is in a unique position to support the UK’s ambitious goal of net zero given its electrification capability and we’re absolutely determined to enable that.
“Having a physical base is critical, and in SASMI, we have a building that is well located at the heart of a world-leading advanced manufacturing cluster, and that – with the support of Sunderland City Council – will soon be transformed into a home that is absolutely fit for purpose.”
The council is buying it from Gateshead College and intends to lease part of SASMI – which will become the North East Innovation Centre, Sunderland – to Newcastle University on behalf of the DER project, and lease part to Nissan for their continued use of the site as a Global Training Centre.
This supports the vision for the Centre for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CeSAM).
Peter McIntyre, executive director of city development at Sunderland City Council, said: “Electrification is a significant and transformational opportunity not only for Sunderland and the North East advanced manufacturing community, but also for the UK as a whole, and ensuring that we’re absolutely at the cutting edge is key to that.
“Securing the DER Industrialisation Centre in Sunderland – closely linked to the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) – means we can support businesses to maximise the opportunities around electrification, keeping the city and the region at the forefront of innovation, and ensuring we are able to maximise the benefits in terms of business growth and job creation.”