A £7.4 million pound Institute of Productivity will be created at the University of East Anglia (UEA), helping to educate the next generation of digitally aware engineers and business leaders within modern engineering facilities.

The Institute of Productivity will deliver a new regional hub for engineering, technology and management, providing innovative engineering and business solutions to enable productivity and growth co-created by UEA staff and students in partnership with businesses. 

The new hub will enable UEA to create a dedicated School of Engineering by 2021, educating the next generation of engineers and expanding UEA’s role as a regional training provider for local businesses.

Institute of Productivity key facts:

  • 1,500 people will be trained in the first five years from engineering and related sectors
  • Enrolling a total of 1,268 new engineering learners within the first five years
  • 16 new academic roles, 13 research posts and eight skilled staff jobs
  • Open to further education students in Norfolk and Suffolk
  • Create new research partnerships 

As well as enrolling an additional 1,268 new engineering students and learners within the first five years, UEA will work in close partnership with local further education colleges to share engineering facilities and collaborate on closing the engineering skills gap.  

The Institute of Productivity will have workshops dedicated to advanced robotics, a 3D printing studio, a digital design lab and a shared studio space. 

The initiative will help to create an additional 35 highly skilled jobs within the university and regional businesses.  Training will be developed and delivered to enable engineering and manufacturing businesses to learn about and adopt new practices, tools and techniques and to collaborate on cutting-edge research projects to boost business productivity and performance. 

A grant of £4.5 million has been agreed by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership for Norfolk and Suffolk and this will be matched by UEA.  The New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (NAAME) and TechEast industry sector groups will be key delivery partners of the Institute of Productivity. 

Fiona Lettice, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at UEA said: “At the heart of the Institute of Productivity are the engineers of the future. The Institute will support businesses in our region by enabling them to work alongside world-class researchers and students to discover practical solutions to current and future challenges. Students and businesses will be able to explore new ideas, prototype designs and create innovative products and services.”

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an important step in making sure that Norfolk and Suffolk businesses can continue to grow and compete within the UK and internationally.

“Our region’s manufacturing sector is worth £5.2 billion and it underpins productivity and innovation in other sectors. Therefore, it is essential to keep investing in this sector to ensure our region benefits from the potential business and investment opportunities.”

Jamie Thums, Chairman of NAAME said: “This is great news for the industry as whole and its wider business community. The region has many innovative manufacturing and engineering businesses, but the sector continues to face a skills shortage of unprecedented levels.  

“With over 1 million trained people required by 2025 nationally, this investment will help with that. The Institute will also improve connections between businesses, academia and partners, which will help fuel productivity improvement.”

NAAME and Hethel Innovation work closely with UEA to help the region grow through delivering business support in East Anglia. We have collaborated with the Enterprise Centre to deliver training sessions, and our highly successful Productivity Conference. To see the full range of our workshops, events and training programmes, click here.



Henry Mules

Author: Henry Mules