Electric Revolution Initiative moves to £3m Sunderland base

An organisation that is driving the electric revolution in the UK is set to move to a £3m base in Sunderland.

Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) Industrialisation Centre North East, which is backed by the government, will relocate to the Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation (SASMI), which has been purchased by Sunderland City Council.

The centre is led by Newcastle University and provides open-access facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, bringing together technology and manufacturing expertise in electrification research and development.

Enabling works will start shortly to allow the DER Industrialisation Centre North East to be accommodated in the property.  

SASMI’s new location is also adjacent to the Nissan plant and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).  The original home for DER, on IAMP itself, is currently occupied by the NHS as a Nightingale Hospital.

Rachel Chambers, chief operating officer for DER Industrialisation Centre North East, said: "We are thrilled to have found a home in SASMI in Washington, the beating heart of the region’s advanced manufacturing base.

"The North East is in a unique position to support the UK's ambitious goal of net zero given its electrification capability and we’re absolutely determined to enable that.

"Having a physical base is critical, and in SASMI, we have a building that is well located at the heart of a world-leading advanced manufacturing cluster, and that – with the support of Sunderland City Council - will soon be transformed into a home that is absolutely fit for purpose."

The council is buying the site from Gateshead College and intends to lease part of SASMI - which will become the North East Innovation Centre, Sunderland - to Newcastle University on behalf of the DER project. Part will be leased to Nissan for their continued use of the site as a Global Training Centre.