An independent North-East technology innovation centre, which has a site on Aycliffe Business Park, 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, the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has grown significantly over the past 15 years to now employ more than 400 staff in the region.
Since being established in 2004 as a way to build on the existing capabilities and ensure the region remained competitive in the global marketplace, CPI has grown exponentially and has now delivered over 1,700 public and private research and development 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 1,200 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.
And in April 2018, CPI opened a state-of-the-art facility on Aycliffe Business Park to help companies exploit opportunities using the Internet of Things.
CEO Nigel Perry 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.”