A major study that aims to improve the road network up to the rapidly-growing Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) is being driven forward.

Sheffield City Council and Rotherham Council will lead a detailed £1.4m study after funding was announced by the Department for Transport exploring solutions to improve capacity at Junctions 33 and 34 of the M1 which serve the AMID between Sheffield and Rotherham.

Improving connectivity to the AMID will attract more innovative companies to move there, and enable people and businesses across the Sheffield City Region to access new opportunities in growing markets, realising benefits from innovation, research and technology designed for collaboration and rapid commercialisation.

Officers will now develop a business case to improve capacity, address air quality issues and create an environment where public transport service provision becomes more sustainable.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport at Sheffield City Council, said: “The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) has the potential to be a catalyst for innovation-led growth across the Sheffield City Region (SCR) and Northern Powerhouse and we will now move forward with a business case designed to improve connectivity.
“Improving transport infrastructure that unlocks future capacity is critical if we are to realise AMID’s full economic potential.

“AMID’s open-innovation approach and model of industry-university collaboration is attracting businesses who can benefit from close proximity to the world-class research and development facilities of our two leading Universities. By developing high quality connectivity we can continue to build upon this success.”

Councillor Denise Lelliott, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, added: “The Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation District is ideally situated in the heart of the UK and we are very proud to see it fast becoming the UK centre of excellence for research, manufacturing and technology. This funding will allow us to investigate and put a good case forward for an improved infrastructure to support this expanding area, leading to faster journeys and encouraging further future growth in the district.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, Chair of Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “This investment by the Government for an important transport study in Sheffield City Region is excellent news. It is an important project for our region and the country and demonstrates the recognition by Government that our region needs infrastructure investment to unlock its terrific economic potential.”

AMID already houses many of the UK’s leading manufacturers, including such as Rolls Royce, Aloca, Tata, Outokumpu and Forgemasters.

AMID has the growth potential to play a critical role nationally and internationally; the place for leading manufacturers to come for research, technology transfer, and production, networking and industrial collaboration.

The reputation of AMID as a place with world-class R&D facilities, open innovation approach and industry-university collaboration is attracting a growing cluster of high-value manufacturers and skilled engineers; who co-locate with particular intensity in the Sheffield – Rotherham Economic Corridor (SREC), just off junctions 33 and 34 of the M1.

At the heart of this corridor is the University of Sheffield’s ‘Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’ (AMRC).

Investment and development in the SREC is becoming constrained by a number of infrastructure barriers. Road congestion, particularly at junctions with the M1 is a major barriers to future expansion in the area.

Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at the Olympic Legacy Park (OLP) aims to emulate the AMRC’S exemplar model of University-Industry collaboration.

Primary-based on the University’s Centre for Sports Engineering Research, the AWRC will provide a world class research and innovation environment developed in collaboration with industry producing new products, processes and services in healthcare technologies, sports and exercise medicine with clear opportunities for synergies and functional links with the rest of the AMID.

The AMID nucleus is a 100-acre campus that sits across local authority boundaries just a few miles between the major City Region centres of Sheffield and Rotherham; Sheffield being home to two leading universities. The nucleus is also 2 miles south of the regional shopping centre at Meadowhall and 16 miles south-west of the regional airport Doncaster Sheffield Airport.