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PCB | August 06, 2009

Up to 1,500 UK-jobs to follow £20m PETEC investment

A £20m expansion of the Printable Electronics Technology Centre in North East England was announced. The centre, at the NETPark in Sedgefield, County Durham, is to receive £12m from the UK Government’s Advanced Manufacturing strategy, along with a further £8m that will be channeled by Regional Development Agency One North East.
In the next four years it is estimated that this investment will stimulate the creation of up to 250 jobs in the North East and up to 1,500 jobs nationally. The funding will help to significantly enhance the open access product development facilities at PETEC with the introduction of new equipment capable of prototyping applications in:
• printable photovoltaics
• ultra-efficient lighting
• printable flexible displays
• new intelligent packaging.

PETEC was established in 2006 by Regional Development Agency One North East and the County Durham Economic Partnership, and is a division of the Centre for Process Innovation Limited (CPI). The Centre connects innovators in research with commercial activity using proof of concept devices and pilot scale manufacture, helping clients identify the materials, industrial steps and investments required to bring products to market quickly.

The announcement confirms the centre’s position as the national base for the emerging printable electronics sector, the global market for which is forecast to grow to £15bn by 2015 and £125bn by 2025. It will encourage the growth of the industry and new inward investment in the North East through PETEC’s work with existing companies such as DTF and Thorn and the region’s universities.

The new investment will also result in:
• 500m2 of new hi-tech equipment space for large-area application and production of pilot product manufacturing
• The development of new applications and knowledge which will attract new companies to the UK
• New private sector investment into novel lighting and solar energy harvesting applications.
• Key technology applications in wide-area displays, photovoltaic generation, novel lighting and smart packaging by stimulating collaborations with new companies and linking with academia.
• The development of a regional and UK-wide display, lighting and photovoltaic supply chain.

The work on Photovoltaic Cells and energy-efficient Organic Solid State lighting is also further investment in the North East’s new low-carbon industries, following announcements this month in projects covering wave power, biofuels, electric vehicles and industrial biotechnology.

Tom Taylor, Director of PETEC, said “This is fantastic news and underlines the outstanding success of CPI and One North East’s investment in the Strategy for Success.”

Alan Welby, Director of Strategy at One North East, said: “This announcement is a major boost for the North East and confirms the region’s position at the cutting edge of UK manufacturing. “One North East has been investing in PETEC for some time now, having identified printable electronics as one of the emerging industries that can drive the region’s economy forward".

“The groundbreaking research and development work that has been taking place in Sedgefield is fast approaching a stage where it can become an area of major industrial growth and job creation for North East England. Following recent announcements on wave power, biofuels, electric vehicles and industrial biotechnology, this new investment will put the North East at the forefront of another emerging industry", he continued.

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