CPI celebrates 15 years of innovation in the North East

CPI, an independent technology innovation centre based in the North East, is celebrating 15 years of innovation across a range of different markets including pharmaceuticals, agritech, FMCG, automotive, energy and aerospace.

Initially created as one of five world-class centres of excellence tasked with delivering the North East Strategy for Success, CPI has grown significantly over the past 15 years to now employ more than 400 staff in the North East of England. Since being established in 2004 as a way to build on the existing capabilities in the North East and ensure the region remained competitive in the global marketplace, CPI has grown exponentially and has now delivered over 1700 public and private R&D projects with a value of around £500m. In turn, this has contributed to the productivity of a number of industries and has supported the development of next-generation manufacturing, highly skilled jobs and economic growth across the whole of the UK.

Since its inception, CPI has assisted over 1200 organisations, ranging from big pharma and multinational manufacturing organisations to start-ups and SMEs, and has established £123m of facilities in the North East to support companies across the UK. These include the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, the National Healthcare Photonics Centre, the National Formulation Centre, the National Industrial Biotechnology Facility, and the National Printable Electronics Centre.

The support provided by CPI includes flexible access to a range of advanced and industry-relevant facilities for R&D, process development and scale-up work. Over the years, companies that have worked with CPI have gone on to secure over £750m of private investment either during or after the completion of these projects. Of these projects, 66% included a North East partner. Examples of projects CPI has collaborated on include helping to build the world’s largest radio telescope and facilitating the manufacture of nanoparticles to revolutionise the treatment of diabetes.

In 2011, CPI also became one of the founding members of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, an initiative aimed at catalysing the future growth and success of UK manufacturing. This model has been applied to form other catapults across a range of industries and markets, positioning the UK as a highly competitive nation as a result.

Nigel Perry MBE FREng FRSC, Chief Executive Officer, CPI said, “Every stakeholder has contributed to the success of CPI over the last 15 years. We learn so much from both our big and small customers, and in doing so we build a capability which is of a greater value. Our staff are also brilliant, they address each new challenge with a level of innovation, inventiveness, enthusiasm, competence and capability. CPI is where it is today because of the desire of the people involved to make it a success.

In the next 15 years we will continue to develop and grow, bringing the benefit of university research to the UK. We will have a strong presence across the UK and will continue to deliver major impact for UK PLC. In particular, our aim is to deliver impact in the North East and to showcase both CPI and the further catapult network as an integral part of the success of the UK.”

NETPark is home to three National Innovation Centres

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Access to quality facilities was one of the main drivers for deciding to locate the business at the NETPark. We have been able to use this as a launch pad to link into support from CPI and world-class expertise from Durham University.

Steve Clements, - Managing Director, aXenic

The quality of the facilities at NETPark and the attitude of staff is first class. It has a really dynamic, innovative atmosphere.

Dr Neil Loxley, - Chief executive, IBEX

CPI has developed a specialist offering to support SMEs looking to develop their printable electronics applications and our partnership with Business Durham has been instrumental in attracting several SMEs to locate here in the region.

Dr Jon Helliwell, - Director of Printable Electronics, CPI

It fits perfectly for us that we’re surrounded by like-minded companies at NETPark. There are a number of highly skilled people in the area who can help us grow our business. The facilities and services offered by NETPark are first class, they make office life simple and engaging.

Stuart Wilson, - CEO, Ascarii

We initially came because of the printable electronics centre but access to a highly skilled semi conductor workforce in the North East has been a key factor in us staying and growing here, as well as the value for money office space and the access to funding.

Ken Williamson, - COO, PragmatIC Printing

The proximity to the universities and the infrastructure are very important factors. Ultimately having a presence in Europe is very valuable to us and we intend to stay at NETPark for many years to come.

Dr Arnab Basu, - CEO, Kromek
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