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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Competitive advantages put West Cumbria ahead of the rest

WEST Cumbria boasts world class research facilities such as the National Nuclear Laboratory at Sellafield, the University of Central Lancashire and The University of Manchester’s Dalton Cumbrian Facility at Westlakes Science & Technology Park.WEST Cumbria’s enterprising culture positively encourages new ideas, creating the conditions for innovation and business diversification to take place. WEST Cumbria has abundant natural resources and social capital, which has inspired and embraced the growth of sustainable energy generation for decades. WEST Cumbria is home to Sellafield and a dynamic cluster of supply chain businesses with expertise and products with global appeal.

World-Class Research Facilities

The University of Cumbria also specialises in Sustainable Engineering with an accent on Clean Technology Research & Development.

The new Innovus programme helps entrepreneurs and academics tap into research facilities, funding, technical skills and business support to take bright ideas to market.

“Innovus has evolved from a shared belief at Manchester University and National Nuclear Laboratory that Cumbria has a unique R&D capability and the opportunity to use technology as a driver for significant growth.” – Kevin Warren, Commercial Director at the Dalton Cumbrian Institute – Manchester University.

Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Capability

Manufacturing continues apace in the region, bucking the national downward trend, while considerable investment has been ploughed into ensuring the region has the right skills to support the sector and the wider economy.

It’s not surprising that West Cumbria has attracted a broad spectrum of companies from large international Blue-Chip corporations such as Amec, URS, Iggesund, Innovia and Tata Steel who sit alongside a vibrant cluster of home grown successes including the likes of James Walker, New Balance, TIS Cumbria and React Engineering.

A dynamic supply chain has also been developed to serve the decommissioning activities at Sellafield, the world’s most complex nuclear site, presenting an abundance of opportunities for businesses directly and indirectly involved in the energy sector.

Natural Resources

The Cumbrian coast is home to some of the world’s largest windfarms – in both physical size and scale – involving international players such as E.ON, Dong and Vattenfall.

The Solway Estuary is the second most powerful tidal estuary in the UK, and plans are afoot to install a tidal energy generating device through the Solway Energy Gateway project.

Meanwhile the largely rural landscape provides significant potential for anaerobic digestion and biomass, highlighted by our support for a £4m AD plant at Dryholme Farm, near Silloth operated by Farmgen.

International Energy Reputation

BEC supports research into all aspects of Clean Technologies such as tidal, photonics and biofuels, as well as advances into new areas such as hydrogen fuel cells.

A pipeline of renewable energy programmes is currently being developed which include urban and rural district heating systems and the infrastructure to support plug in hybrid and electric vehicles.

“There are some very exciting innovations taking shape in West Cumbria. NNL's RadBall technology is being assessed for use in mapping radiation levels in Japan's Fukushima Daiichi reactors.” – Sheila Rae, Technology Commercialisation Manager, National Nuclear Laboratory

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