A £26m project to grow the manufacturing industry in Wales has been announced today by Welsh deputy first minister Ieuan Wyn Jones.

The ASTUTE (Advanced Sustainable manUfacturing TEchnologies) project is being led by Prof Mark Cross of Swansea University’s School of Engineering.

He will work in collaboration with other academics at the universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glyndŵr, Swansea Metropolitan, UWIC and the University of Wales, Newport to carry out assessments of current manufacturing practices and to suggest and investigate innovative techniques that could be used to deliver tangible benefits.

Some of the funding will be used to help 40 collaborative research and development projects get off the ground.

The project itself was made possible with £14m from the Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government, with additional funding coming from higher education institutions.

The project team will be targeting large and small companies from across West Wales and the Valleys.

Interested companies can contact the team via the new project office based at Swansea University’s School of Engineering.