Despite the news that the UK recession has deepened even further than expected with industry hit badly, plans for a manufacturing institute are steaming ahead, with Ford backing the scheme.

The High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI) is being launched by the Government at the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) in East London. By conducting industrial research, it aims to improve the efficiency of British manufacturers and suppliers by integrating state-of-the-art technologies from top academic organisations into volume manufacturing processes.

Those involved hope the move will increase productivity, raise the profile of manufacturing in the UK, and foster the development of key skills needed to make the UK more attractive to businesses.

Ford will invest £1.44m of high-tech engineering and manufacturing expertise in the HSSMI, in partnership with CEME, Loughborough University (the leading academic partner), and supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG.) The set up and launch of the Institute is funded by a £3.5m grant from the DCLG.

Joe Greenwell, Ford of Britain chairman, said: "Ford is delighted to be a founding partner in this exciting new initiative. The Institute will accelerate research and development in innovative manufacturing systems that will help underpin the future of the UK's high value manufacturing sector. This complements the work that Ford is already doing in this area and also provides significant opportunities for supply chain partners."

Bill Williams, CEO of the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence said: "The creation of the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute is a bold step in further establishing the UK in its place of the premier league of manufacturing engineering excellence world-wide."