Historical Projects

Since the inception of the Unit in May 2002, LPDU has been active in pursuing and succeeding in the delivery of several major business-support focused Projects.


Sustainable Design for Rapid/Additive Manufacturing: Engineering Design Academy

The Sustainable Design for Rapid/Additive Manufacturing: Engineering Design Academy (SusDRAM:EDA) project aims to embed the principles of sustainable manufacturing at the heart of product development within a regional business support programme. The technical assistance being promoted has additive manufacturing (AM) and design for manufacture at the heart of the offering. AM offers a range of complimentary benefits including significant waste reduction, part optimisation and functional analysis, recyclability of parts and materials and the resulting reduction in energy use.

Innovation in Manufacturing and Engineering

Leadership and innovation skills for small and medium-sized businesses

This seven month programme was run by Lancaster University’s Engineering Department, Lancaster University Management School, in partnership with BAE Systems.

IME focused on three interlinked themes: Innovation, Technology and Leadership.

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Virtual Prototyping Project

The original Virtual Prototyping Project – worth a total of £1.06M – was delivered between 2002 and 2004, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and provided the Unit with its first major business-support Project. At this time, the strength of the team was three people. The Project assisted over 100 SMEs in England’s NW with a focus on design work and animation production. A smaller, part was also developed through technology audits, supporting SMEs introducing upgraded software capabilities. Momentum grew strong and funding was sought by the Head of Unit for these activities to continue.

Virtual Prototyping Project Phase II

The Phase II Project was a continuation of the original Project, offering much the same services to clients and beneficiaries, however, due to funding restrictions was slightly more limited in a geographic sense. VP Phase II was worth a total of £288,000 and ran from the start of 2004 to the end of March 2005. It supported nearly 30 businesses and helped to create 20 new jobs in the region, largely in the manufacturing sector.

Construction & Design Innovation

The Construction & Design Innovation Project was funded through the European Social Fund (ESF) in collaboration with Preston College and supported some 90 businesses throughout the NW in developing their staff training agendas. Worth a total value of £544,000 the Project was able to support 40 individuals that entered into a formal training programme and gained a qualification after consolidating their knowledge through on-the-job application and support from a mentor. Companies came from mainly the construction and architectural sectors and as the Project was not confined to the NW meant that staff were able to engage with SMEs from outside the region.

Virtual Prototyping Phase III

The success of the two preceding VP Projects meant that a third and final phase was achieved, with a total value of £365,000 being delivered from the end of 2005 to the end of 2006. VP Phase III worked with 45 companies and helped to achieve around 30 new jobs, creating approximately £4M of new sales for the NW region.


Funding was also delivered from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the Higher Education Innovation Fund 2 (HEIF2), in collaboration with the University’s Project Support Unit and InfoLab21. This was delivered throughout 2005/06 and allowed for support to be provided to companies not necessarily meeting the ERDF eligibility criteria.


An EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6), was part delivered by LPDU, and had two strategic objectives of firstly strengthening the knowledge base of industry through research and secondly, promoting future research opportunities in line with EU policy, The work done here focused on the analysis of the packaging of micro and nanotechnologies.


Successful Implementation of Eco-Design Methodologies into SMEs

Working with Partners in Sweden, this Project aims to develop the understanding of NW England SMEs in the latest applications of eco-design methodologies, thereby reducing their impact and saving costs.

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Higher Education Innovation Fund Phase 3

Allowing more flexible work with companies than the ERDF, this funding is part of an institutional grant aiming to stimulate knowledge transfer activities for direct or indirect economic benefits.

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Higher Education Innovation Fund Phase 4

This was the fourth phase of the Higher Education Innovation Fund. The funding formed part of an institutional grant which aimed to stimulate knowledge transfer for both direct and indirect economic benefits.


Consultancy and Support: Computer Aided Design and Engineering

A £1.63M Project to work with north-west eligible Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Objective Two Fully Eligible Areas. Details...


Rapid Manufacturing North West

A project lasting twelve months in collaboration with Econolyst Ltd, looking at supply chain implementation strategies, design scenarios and part optimisation/waste reduction: all in the Rapid Manufacturing field.

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Sustainable Product Development

A twelve month Project with industrial partners, Sustainability NW developing a carbon footprint methodology and social impact analysis for particular application to SMEs. The Project will focus on SME-driven research guided and supported by LPDU and Sustainability NW.

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Support for Design and Rapid Manufacturing

The SusDRaM project was aimed at Northwest-based SMEs that had an interest in bespoke design and additive manufacturing technologies. The project ran until the end of August 2012 and was funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).