NMIS appoints former UKRI Challenge director as chief executive

Architect drawing of buildings

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) has appointed Chris Courtney, former director of the UKRI Made Smarter Innovation Challenge, as managing director.

Run by the University of Strathclyde, NMIS is a cluster of industry-led manufacturing research and development facilities focused on revolutionizing skills, productivity, technology and innovation to make ‘Scotland and the UK a world leader in advanced manufacturing.

Chris will be responsible for providing business and operational direction, vision and leadership, working with companies, universities and public sector partners to drive growth through innovation, new talent and new manufacturing technologies. advances.

The role will also include overseeing the NMIS Headquarters, currently under construction next to Glasgow Airport, and the aligned research centers which form the NMIS Group and which will initially include the Advanced Forming Research Centre, the light manufacturing, the digital factory, the digital process manufacturing center. in North Ayrshire and the Manufacturing Skills Academy.

Important role

NMIS is a collaboration between the University of Strathclyde, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council and Renfrewshire Council. It is part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which is funded by Innovate UK.

He works with manufacturing companies of all sizes to make it easier for them to innovate, bring ideas to life, meet global challenges and ultimately become more competitive. Through the NMIS Group, manufacturers are connected to a national and international network of world-renowned industry and academic experts and collaborators.

Chairman of the NMIS Board and Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, Professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “We are delighted to appoint Chris Courtney to this important post. Chris is a collaborative leader with excellent industry experience and strong cross-industry relationships across the UK manufacturing innovation ecosystem. He has a proven track record of shaping policy and delivering vital innovation and transformation, and under his visionary leadership, NMIS will continue to grow and thrive. I’m really looking forward to welcoming Chris to the team.

chris courtney

Chris said: “Across all parts of manufacturing, we face significant challenges and opportunities. To drive competitiveness, sustainability and resilience, we need to accelerate manufacturing innovation and create new products, services and businesses. NMIS brings together a very powerful coalition of innovators from world-renowned companies, universities and start-ups who will play a critical role in this transformation. I am delighted to have been asked to lead the NMIS team as we create the future we want for manufacturing in Scotland and across the UK.

Extensive experience

Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “I warmly welcome Chris’s appointment. An innovative and vibrant manufacturing sector will be key to delivering the progress set out in our National Economic Transformation Strategy and that is why we have supported the NMIS project with an investment of £75m.

“Chris’ extensive experience, including his long-standing membership on the board of directors of our Making Scotland’s Future programme, ideally positions him to help Scottish manufacturers achieve their productivity and sustainability goals while taking advantage of new opportunities for market. I look forward to working with him.

Adrian Gillespie, Managing Director of Scottish Enterprise, said: “Congratulations to Chris on his appointment. The wealth of experience and expertise in manufacturing innovation that he brings to this position will be a tremendous asset to NMIS. I really look forward to working with Chris and the team to advance our shared vision of being a world leader in advanced manufacturing.

Katherine Bennett, CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said, “I’m thrilled to welcome Chris to the HVMC family. NMIS is HVMC’s primary presence in Scotland and has a vital role to play in delivering industrial transformation. I look forward to working in partnership with Chris and other CEOs across our national network of Innovation Centers to achieve this, unlocking the full potential of the manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing strategy

In his previous role at UKRI, Chris was responsible for delivering a £147m national investment program under the Manufacturing Made Smarter challenge scheme, delivering productive and sustainable manufacturing through digital innovation.

Chris supports the Made National Commission, supply chain policy expert group BEIS, the Future Program Board of Making Scotland and sits on the advisory board of DETI, a digital engineering initiative. He is a member of various advisory groups of the Made Smarter program, including four research centers and two innovation hub advisory groups. Within Innovate UK he was involved in the development of the future high value manufacturing catapult strategy and in the development of the net zero and manufacturing strategy.

Chris holds an Aeronautical Engineering degree from Queens University Belfast, an MSc in Aerodynamics from Cranfield University and an MBA from the University of Warwick Business School. He previously worked with Deloitte, MDS Aero, 4energy and Rolls-Royce Group.

The NMIS flagship headquarters is currently under construction and is expected to open later this year. The 30,502m2 facility is located in the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland at Netherton Square in Renfrewshire, next to the new Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

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