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ASTUTE 2020+ contributes £541 million to the Welsh economy

15 December 2022

Robotic arms in action in a manufacturing environment
ASTUTE has stimulated growth in the Welsh Manufacturing Industry by applying advanced engineering technologies to manufacturing challenges.

A 12-year collaborative project between academics and industry has provided support to over 540 Welsh enterprises, created and safeguarded over 1020 jobs, and contributed an economic impact of over £541 million across Wales.

Since its inception in 2010, ASTUTE 2020+ has collaborated with companies, providing unique access to world-class academic experts, highly qualified researchers, technology, and research facilities, encouraging the stimulation of ideas and facilitating the adoption of change through research, development, and innovation (RD&I).

The partnership between Cardiff University, Aberystwyth University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the University of South Wales and led by Swansea University is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government and participating industrial partners and higher education institutions.

Professor Rossi Setchi, ASTUTE 2020+ Principal Investigator based at Cardiff University’s School of Engineering, said: "At the heart of the ASTUTE success is our commitment to transformative research, ambitious innovations, and close collaboration with industry."

"We have helped many companies in Wales adopt new technologies, grow their business, create new processes, and bring exciting new products to life. We have provided leadership in the adoption of new technologies to address key national challenges such as sustainability and digital transformation."

Professor Rossi Setchi Professor of High-Value Manufacturing

"I am grateful to our numerous collaborators from industry and all our researchers, academics and professional services who made this success possible."

The collaborative research undertaken by ASTUTE 2020+ and their industry partners has improved over 640 new-to-market and new-to-firm products, processes, and services.

Welsh enterprises reported increases in revenue and follow-on investment as a result of their engagement with ASTUTE 2020+, with one company predicting revenue increases of up to £12 million0F.

Over £28 million worth of internal follow-on RD&I investment and £18 million1F additional external funding was also secured by ASTUTE industrial collaborators.

Vaughan Gething, Minister for the Economy of Wales, said: "I’m delighted to see this collaborative project between government, academia and business succeed."

"Supported with over £32 million in EU funds since 2010, ASTUTE is a leading example of an industry collaborative research and development programme. The Welsh Government remains committed to growing research and innovation within Wales, closely aligned to the market and with industrial, business and societal needs."

Vaughan Gething Minister for the Economy of Wales

ASTUTE has stimulated growth in the Welsh Manufacturing Industry by applying advanced engineering technologies to manufacturing challenges in three key specialist areas:

  • Advanced Materials Technology
  • Computational Engineering Modelling
  • Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Professor Mohamed M. Naim, Chair in Logistics and Operations Management of Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, said: "Following Brexit, the covid-19 pandemic, a war in Europe, UK political turbulence and the ensuing economic chaos that has followed, our global supply chains have been shown to be highly vulnerable to the unexpected. While risk management has focussed on the 'known unknowns' building resilience attempts to build up capacity and capability in the supply chain in order to respond to and recover from the 'unknown unknowns'."

"ASTUTE has been very much about capacity and capability building, through cocreated and co-delivered research, development and innovation projects undertaken jointly by industry and academe, to make Welsh manufacturing more resilient in an ever more uncertain world. We believe that ASTUTE has created a platform to make our manufacturing industry in Wales more robust, agile, lean and flexible, through due consideration not just of the technologies but also processes and people, to deal with future perturbations."

Professor Mohamed Naim Professor in Logistics and Operations Management, Co-Director of CAMSAC

"We have achieved this through a pan-Wales cooperative partnership, spanning 12 years, integrating skills and know-how from the varying disciplines in the physical, life and social sciences."

ASTUTE 2020+’s ERDF funding will end on 31 December 2022 when it will no longer operate in its current pan-Wales format. The operation will continue to support UK businesses of all sizes as the ASTUTE Centre of Excellence, a delivery partner of the Analysis for Innovators (A4I) programme funded by Innovate UK – UKRI.

ASTUTE and ERDF combined logo strip

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