The Government today announced a £51 million investment package aimed at boosting manufacturing research as part of its "growth review".
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said the aim was to stimulate growth through research in areas such as pharmaceuticals, aerospace and the automotive industry.
Around £45 million will fund nine centres for innovative manufacturing, and £6 million will support manufacturing "pioneers" of the future.
The centres will be run by universities including Nottingham, Cranfield and Strathclyde, said Mr Willetts, adding: "These centres will increasingly be essential drivers of innovation, opportunity and national prosperity. They will combine inventive research and business acumen to develop the high-tech manufacturing industries we need to secure sustainable growth."
Mark Prisk, Minister for Business and Enterprise, added: "Manufacturing generates £140 billion a year for the economy and accounts for 55% of total UK exports, and increasingly, it is high tech, advanced manufacturing that leads the way.
"But we need to do more to rebalance our economy. These exciting new partnerships between our universities and businesses will play a vital role in keeping UK manufacturing ahead of the game internationally."
The Government also announced the UK's first Technology and Innovation Centre, formed from a group of research and technology facilities across the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable today visited Rotherham, one of the centres involved in the £200 million initiative.
The Deputy Prime Minister said: "The announcement of the first Technology and Innovation Centre is a major early milestone in our ambition to rebalance the economy. It will bring significant benefits to Rotherham, Teesside, Glasgow, Coventry, Warwick and Bristol, and to the country as a whole. I believe that the UK should be at the forefront of science, engineering and manufacturing, and the £200 million we have committed to centres like this over the next four years is a symbol of the Government's commitment to supporting this."
Mr Cable said: "Manufacturing is vital to the country's economic stability and our potential to achieve growth. It generates £140 billion a year, accounting for 55% of total UK exports - but it has considerably greater potential. That's why I am throwing my weight behind this package - to help Britain reach its potential.
"The Technology Innovation Centre will help to equip UK industry with the ability to capitalise on the future global market opportunities by drawing on leading edge research and will form a key part of the Government's work to rebalance the UK economy and create new high-value private sector jobs.
"The investment in the new centre will further bridge the gap between universities and businesses, helping to commercialise the outputs of Britain's world-class research base."