UK government to invest £14.7 million in 3D printing projects


The UK government is to invest 14.7 million in developing 3D printing projects, Business secretary Vince Cable announced.

The funding will help businesses to develop new manufacturing products and services in 3D printing technology across industries such as healthcare and energy. The Technology Strategy Board and Research Councils are investing 8.4 million into the projects that will leverage in an additional 6.3 million of private investment.

The Technology Strategy Board has awarded grants totalling 7.6 million. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will provide funding of 485,000 to support the involvement of academic institutions in four of the projects, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) will provide funding of 133,000 to support the involvement of academic institutions in one of the projects, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) will provide funding of 178,000 to support the involvement of academic institutions in two of the projects.

As part of the Industrial Strategy the Government said it is "committed to support groundbreaking technologies that are often too risky or resource intensive for individual companies to nurture on their own."

The projects that are being funded will last between one and three years. They will undertake research and development in a variety of technology areas.

One of the projects currently being developed is by healthcare firm Renishaw. It will develop specific facial implants for patients who might have suffered a head trauma. Another project being led by JRI Orthopaedics will develop customised hip replacement components, and a project led by FDM Digital Solutions will produce customised insoles so that they meet the needs of a patient's foot.

The funding was announced during a visit to the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry.

"Investing in tomorrow's technology will bring jobs and economic growth throughout the UK. That's why last month the Government announced the biggest ever investment in the work of the Technology Strategy Board," said Cable. "With 440 million of funding they will support new manufacturing techniques to maintain the UK's position as a world leader in technology and design."

"This joint investment with the Research Councils highlights the commitment from across the sector to boost manufacturing in the UK," he added.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.