Manufacturing Technology Centre chief executive Dr Clive Hickman is spearheading a drive to establish a technology partnership with India. The far-reaching link-up aims to increase trade, investment, technology and skills transfers between the UK and the sub-continent.
The initiative follows the launch of the UK-India Technology Partnership by Prime Minister Theresa May and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.
A major leadership summit – the India-UK FutureTech Festival – was held in New Delhi in December, bringing together manufacturing, engineering and technology chief executives and senior leaders as well as scientists, academics, investors and researchers, to explore collaboration between the two nations.
Dr Hickman who, before he joined the MTC, was head of engineering for Tata Motors in India, attended the event and met several key people including Prof Vijay Raghavan, the principal scientific advisor to the Indian government.
Potential collaborations discussed included connecting Indian and UK manufacturers and supply chains to bring economic benefits to both countries, sharing new digital manufacturing technologies and developing these with India’s world-class IT sector, giving UK companies access to India’s markets and production capabilities, sharing engineering expertise and developing and investing in joint research and development projects.
Dr Hickman said the potential opportunities were enormous, with the UK and India being among the world’s top manufacturing nations with a combined manufacturing output of around £750 billion.
“The UK expertise in advanced manufacturing and its well-developed innovation programmes alongside the scale and ambitions of India’s manufacturing sector present an opportunity for both countries. Greater collaboration – from joint research and development and the creation of new technologies to increased trade and investment – can deliver growth and increased productivity in the UK and India,” he said.
He added, “The growth potential and appetite in India for advanced manufacturing innovation and solutions is high in sectors such as automotive, aerospace, defence and pharmaceuticals. The UK’s expertise in advanced manufacturing and its innovation infrastructure can help to deliver the growth and productivity aspirations of both countries.”
As a next step both countries are examining the possibility of establishing Catapult-type centres like the MTC in India, bringing industry together with academia.
The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.
The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.