Last week The University of Manchester invited a local MP to tour their pioneering facilities after £10m of innovation funding was promised to Greater Manchester.
The university hosted the Conservative MP for Bolton West, Chris Green, a fitting visit after the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget confirmed a new Greater Manchester investment zone focusing on advanced manufacturing and materials.
The investment zone will focus on Kadant, Weirt, Hydrograph and Graphene – the first extraction of graphene from graphite was credited to researchers at The University of Manchester in 2004.
As part of the tour Mr Green was shown a specialist national facility which houses the latest technology in 3D human tissue printing.
He said: “I was deeply impressed by all I saw and heard, particularly in the Bioprinting Technology Platform where the remarkable work going on places Greater Manchester firmly at the forefront of the medical engineering revolution.”
Having spent almost 20 years as an engineer Mr Green has previously served on the Science and Technology Select Committee during his time as an MP.
Funded by a £200,000 grant from the UK Space Agency and assisted by the European Space Agency, a University of Manchester team are currently investigating how to optimise the bioprinting process for conditions experienced in space, such as lack of gravity.
Bioprinting is the use of 3D printing techniques to create biomedical parts that imitate natural tissue – such as skin, tissue or organs for transplantation.
Using the unique capabilities of the Bioprinting Technology Platform researchers are also collaborating to develop 3D models of human cartilage and bone.
Another location on the tour was the Dalton Nuclear Institute – the most advanced nuclear research capability in UK academia.
The institute was named after famous scientist John Dalton who introduced the atomic theory into chemistry and spent most of his working life in Manchester.
Professor Richard Jones, Vice President for Civic Engagement and Innovation at the university said: “It is important for influencers of policy, including MPs across Greater Manchester, to see first-hand the work being done and to take that evidence back with them to Westminster.”
Richard is an award-winning professor and the Independent Science Advisor to Innovation GM – a partnership between businesses, universities, and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
A health-themed roundtable discussion with senior academics was the last stop on the science and technology tour with the MP commenting he looks forward to the upcoming research projects happening across the university.
Feature image: Chris Green MP (right) with Dr Ian Wimpenny, Research and Facilities Manager