Nottingham - a global leader in aerospace research4 August 2010
New funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will help to establish the Institute for Aerospace Technology with cutting-edge research.
The University of Nottingham's status as a global leader in aerospace research has been underlined with a new grant of £3.6m.
New funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will help to establish the Institute for Aerospace Technology, which will drive the development of cutting-edge technology in one of the University's key research areas.
It will help to fund construction of a new research facility at the University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP) — the Aerospace Technology Centre, a dedicated facility housing around 100 staff which will be the biggest of its kind in the UK.
The new investment, administered by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda), will strengthen strategic links with partners in industry, and help to bring new inventions to the marketplace more quickly.
The University already has a portfolio of aerospace research worth £35m, with more than 70 separate projects focused on key challenges in power electronics, electromagnetics, advanced manufacturing, polymer composites, non-destructive evaluation, thermo-fluids and many other areas. This portfolio includes two Rolls-Royce University Technology Centres (UTCs), in gas turbine transmissions and manufacturing, and a strategic partnership with GE on advanced electrical power & actuation systems, co-funded by EPSRC.
All of this is underpinned by five Platform Grants, awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to world-leading research groups — the highest number at any UK university for aerospace technologies.
Nottingham academics work in partnership with most of the world's leading aerospace companies, including Rolls-Royce, GE, Airbus/EADS, Boeing, BAE Systems, Bombardier, GKN and Goodrich.
Professor Andy Long, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Engineering, said: 'This is wonderful news. The new Institute for Aerospace Technology will allow us to develop and deploy new technologies and processes that are crucial to supporting the aerospace sector's ability to meet stringent environmental targets set by the Advisory Council on Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) and other additional challenges such as decreased waste.
'Research undertaken will also ensure a good supply of highly skilled people with expertise in areas of immediate interest to the sector.'
Aerospace is very important to the UK's economy — it has the second largest aerospace industry in the world, after the USA. It is equally important at a regional level, with aerospace accounting for around 60 per cent of East Midlands' employment in transport equipment.
The East Midlands accounts for around 15 per cent of the UK aerospace industry by value and numbers of people employed in the sector — 25,000 people within 250 companies.
Diana Gilhespy, Executive Director of Regeneration at emda, said: 'The aerospace sector is of vital economic importance to the region. The new Institute for Aerospace Technology will provide an invaluable resource for businesses in this sector, helping them to develop innovative new ideas, using the expertise of the University.
'I am delighted that through the ERDF we are able to support the creation of this centre of excellence.'
Aerospace is one of The University of Nottingham's key research areas, in which a concentration of expertise, collaboration and resources create significant critical mass. Other key research areas at Nottingham include energy, drug discovery, food security, biomedical imaging, advanced manufacturing, integrating global society, operations in a digital world, and science, technology & society.
Through these groups, Nottingham researchers aim to make a major impact on global challenges.
For more information, visit: www.nottingham.ac.uk.