£6m relaunch for Coventry University’s AME

Investment in Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) includes new teaching and research facilities, six new laboratories and a robotics and testing area. 

AME was originally established in 2014 as the country’s first ‘faculty on the factory floor’, to address the skills and technology gaps identified by industry. It began through collaboration between Coventry University and Unipart Manufacturing, with students learning while being involved in real projects run by businesses in the city.  

a very large stained glass window in a building

Stain-glassed window in Coventry, photo by Ebun Oluwole

The institute has flourished over the past 10 years and in 2020 was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize – the highest national honour to be awarded to further and higher education institutions. Since launch, AME has participated in projects with a total value of £110m and worked with 174 collaborators. Some 400 students have graduated from the programme and AME’s value to the manufacturing and engineering economy is estimated at some £500m. 

Now it has expanded its operations and facilities thanks to £6m investment from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. New research facilities include a ‘twin pilot environment’, with a digital representation of a physical manufacturing production line, as well as physical stations with fully configured digital systems that represent real, individual manufacturing businesses, each of varying complexity at different points in the value chain. 

Guests attending the launch event in person this month were joined by avatars of guests from around the world in a high-fidelity 3D model of the AME base to explore the new facilities and equipment. This kind of digital universe or ‘metaverse’ is a good example of the way AME is pioneering state-of-the-art tech in innovative new collaborations. 

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change and former CWLEP Board Member, says: ‘When the local enterprise partnership decided to invest in the AME it was investing in the future of manufacturing in the UK, and more directly, in the prosperity of our city and the wider region. 

‘The set-up is innovative and I am sure the AME will become a global reference point for manufacturing and engineering education. We see it fostering even deeper ties with local industries, leading to further investment, job creation, and solidifying Coventry’s reputation as an innovation hub.’ 

Marcos Kauffman, Director of AME and Centre Director of the university’s Research Centre for Manufacturing and Materials, adds: ‘We are proud of the AME expansion which is more than just a physical growth of an additional nearly 2,000 square metres; it’s a testament to our unwavering commitment to bridging the gap between academia and industry.  

‘As we begin this new chapter, our focus is providing our students and collaborators with world-class facilities, equipment and people to support their journeys into a clean, sustainable and digital world. We are more energised than ever to open our doors to the wider manufacturing and engineering supply chain in the West Midlands to shape the future of manufacturing and engineering in the UK.   

Carol Burke, Managing Director at Unipart, says: ‘We are thrilled about the expansion of AME, a pioneering initiative between Unipart and Coventry University to bridge the gap between industry and academia.   

‘AME stands as a testament to addressing the skills and technology gaps in our industry. Our unique approach is embodied in an industry-ready degree course that goes beyond textbooks, immersing students in live industry projects.  As the transport sector transitions to EV manufacturing and greener solutions, Coventry University’s latest investment will empower the AME to expand Unipart’s expertise and capabilities into new sectors.   

‘This involves collaborating on Research and Development with academia and strengthening ties with supply chains, including small and medium-sized enterprises. Ultimately it leads to new business growth. 

‘AME is at the centre of the transformation of the Midlands to stay ahead of net-zero innovation and to support business growth, where ideas become reality, and the future of sustainable mobility is redefined.’ 

In related news:

£60m Regional Innovation Fund (RIF) to boost R&D

First-of-its-kind strategic energy partnership between Coventry City Council and E.ON

Bristol to host UK’s most powerful supercomputer for pioneering AI research


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