A network to help unlock innovation and drive growth in the manufacturing sector has been formed by a research and development institute.

The new collaboration is led by the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) and includes partners such as Borders-based Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, Tay Cities Engineering Partnership (TCEP) and SeedPod – a £21m investment in the food and drink industry to create a centre of excellence for manufacturing in north east Scotland.

The NMIS Capability Network will offer an “easy means” for manufacturing companies who work with individual partner organisations, to tap into the vast expertise across the sector.

Providing an open channel to share knowledge, capability, and ideas, the network is accessible to all organisations across the country who can contribute to creating “a sustainable and vibrant future” for the Scottish manufacturing and engineering community.

This comes at a critical time when companies across Scotland are recovering from the impact of Covid-19.

John Reid, chief executive of NMIS, said: “The NMIS Capability Network makes it easier for companies in the Scottish manufacturing and engineering community to tap into and benefit from world-class expertise and capability.

“This is a crucial moment in time as manufacturers seek to navigate complex situations such as the climate emergency and post pandemic recovery. Now is a time to refocus, embrace innovation and seize the opportunities that so often emerge from challenging times.

“Sitting at the cutting edge of manufacturing innovation, the network partners each have a fundamental part to play in developing tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce, improving productivity, and helping companies, and people, in our community prosper.”

NMIS is operated by the University of Strathclyde and supported by Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council and Renfrewshire Council.

Business minister Ivan McKee said: “As we begin to make our way out of the Covid-19 pandemic and look to rebuild and grow Scotland’s economy, a vibrant and diverse manufacturing sector has never been more critical to long-term recovery and success.

“Our £75m investment in NMIS continues to deliver strong outcomes even during the challenging times we are facing now – from supporting the initial response to the pandemic to playing a key role in developing and delivering our Manufacturing Recovery Plan.

“We must utilise the experience, expertise and ingenuity of all of Scotland’s manufacturing industry to create the best conditions for the sector to thrive.

“The network is an essential part of our support across industry, academia and the public sector working to deliver greater, greener and fairer prosperity for manufacturers across all of Scotland.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal & vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “The University of Strathclyde is committed to applying its research, expertise and sector-leading approach to partnership working with business, industry and government to help Scotland recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Manufacturing will play a central role in that recovery and through our participation in this new capability network we look forward to helping companies across Scotland to innovate, develop their workforces and to drive economic growth.”

Stephen Good, chief executive, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, said: “Being part of this network will enable us to realise the potential across Scotland’s capability and, crucially, enhance our ability to provide support to our industry partners who are engaging in their own innovation journeys.”

The NMIS is a place where industry, academia and the public sector work together on “ground-breaking” manufacturing research to transform productivity levels, makes companies more competitive and boost the skills of our current and future workforce.

Its new network also includes CENSIS, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, Energy Skills Partnership, the Scottish Institute for Remanufacturing, Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering.

To find out more about the NMIS capability network or to enquire about joining visit NMIS Capability Network | National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.