European Commission - Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative

Title of measure
Full title in national language:
Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative
2012 to 2020
Policy objectives Plus
Presentation of the measure:

The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) is a £345m (€426m) national programme launched in 2012 providing companies with repayable loans and/or grants to cover part of the cost of undertaking one/all of the following:

  • Purchase of capital equipment;
  • R&D that improves manufacturing equipment, systems or processes;
  • Specific training and skills development to support the project proposal.

The aim of the advanced manufacturing supply chain fund is to improve the growth, quality and global competitiveness of the UK advanced manufacturing supply chain and anchor high value work in England. Successful applicants for the AMSCI receive a grant or loan to existing supply chains to grow, or to encourage new suppliers to establish operations.
The scheme is structured in two different funding streams. Stream one is a national scheme organised in different funding rounds covering England and all advanced manufacturing sectors with a particular focus on Automotive and Aerospace sectors, along with Renewable Energy, Chemicals, and Nuclear:

  • £100m (€117m) Round 1 and 2 announced in December 2011 to form a National round
  • £120m (€144m) further Rounds 3 and 4 launched during 2013
  • £100m (€126m) England-wide fund in 2014

Round 1-4 took place with a minimum level of support of £2m (€2.46m). However, to encourage consortia involving small and medium sized businesses, the funding body considered projects below this level where they could provide strong evidence that they could meet the aims and objectives for this initiative. “AMSCI 2014” envisaged a reduced funding ask of £1m (€1.26m).
Stream two is a £25m (€30.8m) fund covering applicants based in the four LEP areas (Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham and Solihull and Liverpool City Region), operating as part of the automotive and aerospace supply chain, with a minimum level of support of £200,000 (€246,000). Applicants in the four LEP areas can apply for stream two but all applicants can only apply for one of the two streams.
Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative AMSCI – West Midlands and Liverpool City Region
Key Features – First Round:

  • £8.3m (€10.2m) fund available for businesses located within the four Local Enterprise Partnerships of Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire and Liverpool City Region;
  • Open ended rolling programme with recycled funds as they come available;
  • £100k (€123k) entry level, no maximum – loans and grants;
  • Sole or Consortium bids;
  • Open to Automotive and Aerospace supply chains;
  • Open ended - first come first served;
  • Purpose can be:
    • Purchase of capital equipment
    • Working capital
    • Research and development
    • Training and skills development that supports the project
  • Applications are assessed for:
    • Technical merit
    • Financial strength
    • State aid compliance
  • Focus on job creation;
  • Contact relevant LEP in the first instance;
  • Two stage assessment process:
    • Expression of Interest
    • Full application
  • Approvals by an Independent Investment Board.

A second round for the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative West Midlands and Liverpool City Region (WMLCR) programme was recently announced in March 2017.

Budget, source and type of funding
National public funds345,000,000
Regional public funds
EU Structural funds
Private funds
Form of funding provided
Subsidised loans (including interest allowances)
Policy learning
To what extent the measure can be considered as a success and worthy of policy learning?:
There is evidence of an impact of the measure based on verifiable indicators or an evaluation (e.g. sales generated from new products, jobs created, etc.)
Evidence of outcomes based on evaluation and other evidence:

At the main website of the initiative, there are several case studies, most of which present how the measure supported the work of the small businesses. The case studies are different in their scope and have a joint point in validating the importance of the investment in manufacturing of the Birmingham area. 

An evaluation was published in November 2015. It concluded that the overall progress has been limited so far and considerable progress is required before the programme achieves its aggregate spending and output targets. While ongoing monitoring processes are identifying delivery risks at a project level, the aggregate monitoring data available do not enable a conclusive assessment to be made of whether or not the programme as a whole is on course to achieve its overall targets.

However, the projects that have started are generating positive impacts and AMSCI is recognised as being central to the strengthening of supply chain manufacturing activities. However, some projects are behind schedule and this often this relates to changes in commercial priorities or unanticipated issues emerging.


What are the most important “Do’s and Don’ts” that regional stakeholders should be aware of when launching a similar measure?:

The measure provides sufficient information for the potential beneficiaries. There is an online help-desk to facilitate the questions. 
Some of the high priority recommendations of the evaluation were:

  • It is suggested that strong engagement takes place between the Monitoring Board and Finance Birmingham to ensure that the project risk rating systems is appropriately positioned to identify whether any slippage will occur in terms of programme level outputs by the relevant deadlines for each Round;
  • Efforts should be concentrated on ensuring that AMSCI, and AMSCI events, are publicised effectively through private sector channels, including industry associations, LEPs and private finance institutions, so that more applicants from different advanced manufacturing sectors (with limited current engagement with Government) are made aware of the roadshows;
  • The importance of personalised support to help applicants navigate the complex guidance and improve the quality of their applications should not be underestimated. Although the costs of this support should be considered, Finance Birmingham should continue to ensure that the helpdesk is well resourced and signposted;
  • One area to explore (for AMSCI and other similar programmes) could be the approach to examining project risk taking by applicants which has been regarded by one interviewee as too conservative on some occasions.
Would you recommend this measure as an example of regional good practice to policy-makers from other regions ?:
Organisation(s) responsible
Evaluation report(s)