Aston University 3D printing facility wins Tech Innovation Champion award
  • Project makes 3D printing accessible to smaller businesses 
  • Aston University is at the forefront of using 3D printing
  • Winner announced at a black-tie dinner at Edgbaston Cricket Ground.

Aston University’s Advanced Prototyping Facility has won the Tech Innovation Champion award in the prestigious Innovation Awards 2022.
The Innovation Awards recognise, celebrate and reward the businesses, organisations and individuals who are dedicated to innovation.  

The Advanced Prototyping Facility project encourages and supports small businesses in the West Midlands to use 3D printing, which is also called additive manufacturing. 

On a large scale, the technique has been used within sectors as diverse as healthcare for printing face shields, aviation in producing aircraft components, to fashion for creating trainer insoles. The process can make parts and products faster, cheaper, lighter and more sustainably.

Aston University’s Advanced Prototyping Facility brings this technology, which is usually only affordable to large companies, to West Midlands small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They benefit from using 3D printing in product development to create prototypes that reduce the risk of expensive tooling mistakes during the design process, as well as reducing the time to validate a design.

Aston University has been at the forefront of using 3D printing, especially with early adopters of the technology in the medical sectors, for example, in the orthopaedic field.

Professor David Webb of Aston Institute of Photonics Technologies (AIPT) leads the team, supported by Paul Gretton, senior project manager who runs the Advanced Prototyping Facility project.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted to win this prestigious award.

“It is great that our work helping local businesses take advantage of advanced technology has been recognised.
“The team has worked hard to support some of the region’s small companies, and we will be helping more in the future.”  

It was one of two Aston University projects to be nominated this year. The other finalist was the Think Beyond Data project in the Tech Innovation Champion award category. 

The project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund programme and part-funded by Aston University.

The winners were announced at a black-tie awards ceremony at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham on Friday 16 September. 

Find out more about the Advanced Prototyping Facility by visiting The Advanced Prototyping Facility webpage.

Photo caption (l-r): 
Lisa Brown - Research Finance Accountancy Assistant, David Webb - Director of ASTUTE, APF Director, Renia Gkountiou - Additive Manufacturing Technician, Gosia Dzierdzikowska - Project Officer, Amaan Khan – Placement Student, Will Utting - Design and Additive Manufacturing Engineer

Notes to editors

Notes to Editors

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.


In 2022 Aston University was ranked in the top 25 of the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7825 342091 or email

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