Multi-million funding injection for University of Nottingham facility brings net zero one step closer to reality

Thursday, 30 November 2023

The University of Nottingham, in collaboration with Loughborough University, has been selected to receive a significant funding boost from East Midlands Freeport to accelerate the translation of zero carbon research into high-impact commercial and policy solutions.

Aerospace Technology Centre (ATC)

More than five million pounds from East Midlands Freeport, match-funded by the University of Nottingham and Loughborough University, has been pledged to the first phase of a zero carbon innovation centre, which will be primarily based at Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus. This centre will consolidate the East Midlands’ position as a world leader in the development and deployment of innovation in green industries, attracting international investment and providing support for global businesses.

As part of the university’s ambitious, science-based carbon reduction target to reach net zero by 2040, the innovation centre will provide the necessary technology and laboratories to progress research in electrification, hydrogen propulsion systems, and advanced manufacturing – for industry use.

Professor Tom Rodden 2023 - STAFFROOM
With world-class facilities and research, this innovation centre will enable us to collaborate more closely with industry to accelerate the translation of zero carbon research into real-world solutions.
Professor Tom Rodden, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Nottingham

Professor Rodden continued: "This will not only help tackle the climate crisis but also deliver economic benefits to the East Midlands, as new businesses bring quality jobs to our region. The goal is for the East Midlands to become a global model for a flourishing zero carbon economy.”

The first phase of the project, anticipated to complete in Spring 2024, is part of longer-term plans to develop an innovation ecosystem that enables the East Midlands to build on its industrial heritage and help deliver advanced technologies and manufacturing to reach net zero. It will see construction begin for a green hydrogen production, testing and training facility at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP) where a new battery-electrolyser will be installed.

Power Electronics and Machines Centre (PEMC)

Professor Dan Parsons, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Loughborough University, said: “We are delighted that funding has been secured for the new centre, which will help ensure the East Midlands is at the forefront of net zero carbon innovation. We look forward to working with our colleagues at the University of Nottingham, and bringing our combined strengths together in renewable energy and hydrogen to help accelerate progress towards achieving net zero emissions.”

The University of Nottingham and Loughborough University are the first of seven initial projects chosen to receive funding from East Midlands Freeport. As the UK’s only inland freeport, it has attracted £150m of investment, signed off more than five million pounds to fund these first projects, and created 200 brand-new skilled jobs.

Tom Newman-Taylor, Chief Executive at East Midlands Freeport, said: “Today marks a big milestone for East Midlands Freeport as we start to deliver on our objectives and invest in major projects, like the Innovation Centre, to boost skills and jobs across the region. It’s only nine months since we received Government approval but, with major investors building on our sites, the second £22m phase of Maritime UK’s and Segro’s rail freight terminal nearing completion and more interest in the pipeline, we’re building momentum.”

At the University of Nottingham, we are building a globally significant Zero Carbon Cluster right here in the East Midlands. By bringing together researchers from a variety of disciplines with a wide range of cross-sector partners, the cluster aims to attract and support top global firms, cultivate local innovation, train people in the skills needed for the net zero transition, and serve as a global model for a flourishing zero carbon economy.
Professor Tom Rodden, University of Nottingham

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Story credits

More information is available from Samir Mamun, Senior Manager, Zero Carbon Cluster, at the University Of Nottingham, at; or Danielle Hall, Media Relations Manager at the University of Nottingham, at or 0115 846 7156.

Danielle Hall - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Engineering
Phone: 0115 846 7156

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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