Resource Use

Scottish Institute of Remanufacture officially opens

The Scottish Institute of Remanufacture based at University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, has been officially opened today (21 January).

Scottish Institute for Remanufacture officially opens
Richard Lochhead officially opened the Scottish Institute of Remanufacture this morning

The Scottish Institute of Remanufacture aims to create a more ‘circular economy’ (one where materials and products are constantly kept in use) by reducing waste through the uptake of remanufacturing. This process involves taking products or components that have reached their end of life, performing a series of steps to bring them back up to ‘as new’ specifications, and providing the new, remanufactured product with a warranty to match.

Estimated to be worth £2.4 billion to the UK economy, remanufacturing is already common in various industrial products including engines, pumps and gearboxes in the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors. (Learn more about remanufacturing in Resource 77.)

Opening the institute this morning, Scotland's Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead (pictured, right) said: “We want to move away from the current situation where valuable materials often go to waste, to a circular economy where things are designed to be used over and over again.   

“This approach can create jobs and stimulate growth, and I am keen to hear ideas about how best to make the most of the opportunities that a circular economy can offer Scotland. Remanufacturing – which will be driven forward in Scotland thanks to this fantastic new institute – will be at the heart of this agenda.

“Scotland is already recognised as a leader on the circular economy internationally and this new centre will further support our progressive ambitions.”

Institute structure

The institute is hosted by the University of Strathclyde and run in partnership with Heriot-Watt University (with contributions from other ‘major Scottish research institutions).

Remanufacturing research specialist Dr Winifred Ijomah, of the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Design, Manufacture & Engineering Management, has been appointed as the Director of the new institute, while a steering committee comprising industry and academic experts, including those from Heriot-Watt University, will soon be selected.

Dr Ijomah commented: “A key opportunity for the institute is to capitalise on the growing low carbon market. Remanufacturing is complex and multifaceted so requires interdisciplinary projects involving academia, industry and other stakeholders. The centre is an essential mechanism that will support such complex collaborations. It will further reduce the barriers to wider adoption of remanufacturing by pulling the expertise embedded within Scottish universities to develop the essential new knowledge, expertise, tools and techniques.”

The Principal of the University of Strathclyde, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, welcomed today’s official opening, saying that he was “delighted” the university was hosting the “new centre of excellence for remanufacturing”, adding it was the latest step the university had taken to “drive innovation and growth for Scotland’s economy by building on world-class research capability and skills”.

He continued: “As home to the UK’s largest remanufacturing research group, the University - with its partners - is ideally placed to ensure Scotland is positioned at the forefront of this key engineering and technology theme".

Developing opportunities for circular economy businesses to thrive in Scotland’

Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), which delivers the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan, has committed £300,000 to the institute, while the Scottish Funding Council (SCF), which distributes funding from the Scottish Government to the country's colleges and universities, has awarded £1 million to the centre. The funding will be spread over three years. Companies based in Scotland have reportedly already pledged over £800,000 of funding, or in-kind support, for potential research projects for the institute.

The Chief Executive of ZWS, Iain Gulland, said: “Zero Waste Scotland is excited to be investing in and putting its weight behind the new Scottish Institute of Remanufacture, which can play a vital role in developing opportunities for circular economy businesses to thrive in Scotland. 

“Remanufacturing presents tremendous opportunities for creating jobs, businesses and a sustainable economy in Scotland built on a circular model, where we keep increasingly scarce resources in productive use as long as possible.”

Speaking on behalf of the SCF, Chief Executive Laurence Howells, added: “Reuse, repair, recondition and remanufacture are going to be really important ways for us to protect the environment and make Scottish business more competitive.

“The work of the Scottish Institute of Remanufacture is going to be vital across industries as diverse as aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics and marine. SFC’s investment of £1 million will enable industry, academics and the public sector to innovate and help Scottish industry get ahead and compete globally.”

Find out more about the Scottish Institute of Remanufacture or learn more about remanufacturing in Resource 77.

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