A new local business network has been created to support the manufacturing sector in Greater Lincolnshire.

A brand new local business network has been created to support the manufacturing sector in Greater Lincolnshire through closer links between academia and business.

The Greater Lincolnshire Manufacturing Network (GLMN) has been founded jointly by the University of Lincoln School of Engineering and the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The network will support the growth and development of SMEs by promoting best practice, manufacturing solutions and partnership opportunities, showcase technological advances and cutting-edge thinking, and act as a knowledge transfer vehicle between academia and industry.

The network will be launched at a virtual event tomorrow (3rd November): Manufacturing Made Smarter will introduce the aims of the network and facilitate a conversation around digitisation. The University of Lincoln’s Director of Research & Enterprise Andrew Stevenson will host the event from 8.30am to 10am and will be joined by Dr Michael Gallimore, Head of the School of Engineering.

Dr Gallimore said: “Manufacturing SMEs contribute a great deal to our regional and national economy, often leading the way in productivity and innovation. We are delighted to provide a platform for these businesses to come together and exchange ideas, while benefiting from the support available from our university and friends at the LEP and its business support arm Business Lincolnshire.”

Three keynote speakers will also be providing their insights into smart manufacturing and the Lincolnshire landscape: Darren Joint, Managing Director of Viking Signs and Chair of the LEP's Manufacturing Board; Professor Mini Saaj, Global Chair in Robotic Engineering at the University of Lincoln; and Mike Hague-Morgan, co-owner and Commercial Director at Autocraft Solutions Group.

Darren Joint said: “As long-term advocates for the amazing manufacturing industry in Lincolnshire it's a great pleasure for me and the whole Viking Signs team to see the Greater Lincolnshire Manufacturing Network finally come to fruition.

“I was involved in the launch of the Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Network and have seen at first hand how the close cooperation between the university and local businesses has hugely benefited both. The fact that we've been able to replicate this model here in Lincolnshire bodes extremely well for the future of the network.”

Pat Doody, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said "I'm delighted that that GLMN is being launched with support from local partners. I urge manufacturing businesses across Greater Lincolnshire to get involved in this free resource to support and grow our varied and rich manufacturing cluster.”

Open to manufacturing businesses based in Greater Lincolnshire and Rutland, the network will be piloted for one year and members will be able to join free of charge. Manufacturing businesses can register to attend the free launch event through Eventbrite.

The new initiative forms part of the civic mission of the University of Lincoln, which aims to add social value and economic progress to the local area by working with businesses of all sizes and sectors.