University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre in £10.7m drive to turbo-charge NW firms

25th January 2021

Experts at the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) will help firms in the North West boost their productivity in two projects worth a combined £10.7m.

The University of Liverpool will offer firms access to its digital expertise

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the £5.1m LCR4.0 HOLISTIC and £5.6m C&W 4.0 programmes will help companies in the region with the digitalisation of their industrial processes.

Manufacturers in Liverpool city region and Cheshire and Warrington will be able to capitalise on new digital technologies and and the research and development facilities and expertise on offer at both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

Both projects will build upon the regional success of the VEC-led LCR4.0 and LCR4 START programmes, which strengthened the capacity of manufacturing SMEs to adopt industry 4.0 practices and technologies, and created digital adoption strategies for SMEs.

LCR4.0 HOLISTIC is a fully integrated digital innovation support project developed in conjunction with the University of Liverpool Management School Operations and Supply Chain Management group, with partners LJMU and Growth Platform.

It will provide intensive support to a wide range of organisations beyond manufacturing and will help companies to harness the benefits and agility of increased digitalisation. This will enable them to adapt their business to become part of stronger digitally enabled supply chain, better equipped to weather market fluctuations and sectoral changes.

The programme aims to support organisations in adopting digitalisation to build a regional ecosystem of companies with core skill sets enabling them to respond to sectoral opportunities and promoting growth.

C&W 4.0 will see the VEC expand the proven LCR4.0 model into Cheshire and Warrington, linking businesses in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries with the university’s expertise.

It is tailored specifically to meet the needs of manufacturing and engineering businesses in Cheshire and Warrington to implement new Industry 4.0 technologies. Partners include the Science & Technology Facilities Council, LJMU and the Northern Automotive Alliance.

Dr Andrew Levers executive director, Institute of Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems at the University of Liverpool, said: “This funding means we can continue to build upon our successful legacy of industrial digitalisation programmes for Liverpool city region, and extend this offer to neighbouring Cheshire and Warrington.

“Digital innovation will be crucial to a region’s economic recovery after COVID-19 and to help respond to the challenges brought about by Brexit. The LCR4.0 HOLISTIC and C&W 4.0 programmes will mean even more North West businesses can tap into world-leading expertise from a research intensive Russell Group University.”

Jointly the projects will support more than 310 business over the next three years and create 260 new R&D collaborations between industry and HEIs. The VEC’s activities are the vanguard for the newly established Institute of Digital Engineering & Autonomous Systems (IDEAS) impact agenda.

To express your interest in any of the above innovation programmes, contact

25th January 2021