EDF Energy and the University of Bath (UOB) are joining forces to establish the Hinkley Point C Supply Chain Innovation Lab in the University’s School of Management.
The lab will bring together academics, managers and policy makers with the aim of improving the management of supply chains and complex capital projects.
Hinkley Point C, which won final approval in September after Theresa May ordered a last-minute review, is one of the most complex infrastructure projects in the UK. The company has developed a consortia approach for its suppliers, enabling local companies to join forces to bid for contracts that would otherwise remain out of reach.
EDF and UOB hope research conducted at the lab will help inform future capital projects within the UK, and potentially lead to the elevation of local suppliers in the construction process.
Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, dean of the School of Management, said: “We are delighted to enter into a partnership with EDF Energy. We are working with them on many different projects, all of which demonstrate that big business can be a 'force for good' in the social and economic development of a region."
President and vice chancellor of UOB, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, added: “Our School of Management is a world leader in supply chain research and education. The size, spend and complexity of Hinkley Point C presents an outstanding opportunity to study and analyse a truly global supply chain.”
The partnership will fund a number of new research posts at the University within the Hinkley Point C Supply Chain Innovation Lab.
Ken Owen, EDF’s Hinkley Point commercial director, said: “The partnership will enable other major infrastructure projects to learn from our approach to procurement for Hinkley Point C where we have created a global supply chain while still supporting businesses local to the project.
“We have already put £465m into local and family-owned firms when we could easily have just gone to national companies to take on some of the project’s most important contracts.
“Instead, we worked to build-up local companies to do the same jobs, effectively creating national companies from local businesses by helping them work together.”
The Hinkley Point C project has created 650 jobs in the South West. It will create 25,000 new employment opportunities over the construction period and, once completed, will generate enough electricity for around six million homes.