Manchester’s economic and social success has been built on innovation, from the birth of the Co-operative movement to the splitting of the atom. Innovation is the heart of the ‘Trailblazer devolution’ deal agreed this year between the UK Government and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, creating a Strategic Innovation Partnership.

With a strong innovation culture and a legacy of sixty-five years in Manchester, Arup is proud to be involved in some of the new innovation initiatives in Manchester.

Arup has long recognised the potential for Innovation Districts to drive the growth of cities, such as in our 2018 report “UK Innovation Districts and Knowledge Quarters: Driving More Productive Growth”, prepared in collaboration with the UK Innovation Districts Group.

In July, a milestone was reached for ID Manchester – a £1.7bn city centre innovation district set to transform The University of Manchester’s (the University) North Campus. The launch of the draft Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) and formal public consultation period is breathing new life into a site steeped in a history of innovative scientific advancements. ID Manchester is a joint venture between the University and Bruntwood SciTech, and the new district’s site has been made available due to the transition of the University’s engineering and material science departments into the new Manchester Engineering Campus Development, a project engineered by Arup, with a design team that included many of the University’s graduates.

The ID Manchester SRF details the scale, ambition and opportunities that the innovation district will bring to the city and its local residents, businesses and stakeholders including the creation of over 10,000 new jobs within a diverse and inclusive community of innovators.

Alongside the University and Bruntwood SciTech, the ID Manchester masterplan has been designed in collaboration with a world class design team including Allies and Morrison, SLA, Stanhope, Deloitte, Arup, Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture, Useful Projects, Ekosgen and Arcadis. Arup has previously worked on the former UMIST Campus as structural engineers including on the Renold Building, the Maths and Social Sciences Building and Ferranti Building.

In collaboration with the design team, Arup pioneered an approach for the assessment of heritage assets within the site regeneration, taking a holistic approach to carbon impact and advising whether buildings could be repurposed to a different use-class, extended whilst maintaining their historic character, or whether new build was recommended. The success of this assessment has led to the approach becoming embedded more widely across Arup’s work on other regeneration schemes.

Along with involvement in the ID Manchester masterplan, Arup also recently entered into an equity deal with Concretene developer Nationwide Engineering Research & Development (NERD) and international graphene supplier Black Swan Graphene. Concretene – an innovative technology designed to decarbonise the construction sector – is a graphene-enhanced admixture for concrete that has demonstrated the ability to reduce CO2 emissions significantly.

We continue to work with partners in support of Manchester’s innovation economy. A Memorandum of Understanding signed in July means Arup is set to become one of The University of Manchester’s strategic partners. Focussed on common research interests, the agreement builds on Arup’s strong relationship with the universities of Greater Manchester – a key contributor to the foundation of innovative growth in the city.

Supporting the evolution of science and research, the InnovateUK collaboration with University of Manchester to develop novel Linear Algebra algorithms for seismic simulation won the Technical Excellence award at the InnovateUK KTP awards last week. 

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