GRACE ground breaking ceremony

07 Nov 2008 14:19:00.000

PA 280/08

The University of Nottingham and the East Midlands Development Agency (emda) will perform a ground-breaking ceremony on 11 November 2008 to signal the start of work on a £9m state-of-the-art facility in Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).

The project combines a grant of £3.4m from emda with university investment to develop the facility on The University of Nottingham Innovation Park adjacent to the Jubilee Campus.

The GNSS Research and Applications Centre of Excellence (GRACE) will focus on the growth in applications for satellite navigation and positioning systems such as the American Global Positioning System (GPS) and the European Galileo system. This major cross-disciplinary research centre will also provide new technology transfer and business development opportunities. Together it will provide an integrated, purpose built facility building on Nottingham's reputation as one of the fastest growing scientific centres in the country.

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GRACE will capitalise on existing world-leading research and training at the University. The centre will combine the global renown of cutting-edge research and high calibre teaching in the Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG) and the Centre for Geospatial Science (CGS) to provide research, training and other support for industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs. 


Professor Bob Webb, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for research said: “The University of Nottingham is extremely pleased to be collaborating with emda on this project. It provides an excellent example of how cutting-edge research, of international importance, will be taken through to application. This will be of significant benefit both to the region and to the UK.


Bryan Jackson, Chairman of emda said: “emda is committed to stimulating and nurturing innovation, and the creation of GRACE will provide the region with a national centre of excellence in the GNSS and telematics industry. The potential uses for this technology are far reaching and diverse; from the satellite navigation systems in vehicles, to applications in engineering, meteorology and archaeology, to name but a few.


“The East Midlands is already home to many  businesses in GNSS and telematics, and this outstanding facility will not only provide support for these companies, but will also aid the development of new businesses in this sector, creating new, highly skilled jobs in the region."


Terry Moore, Professor of Satellite Navigation and Director of the IESSG said: "Satellite navigation is one of the most important growth technologies of the early 21st century.  GPS [the basis of the SatNav now familiar in many people's cars] will soon be joined by other systems, including Europe's Galileo, and location and timing services provided by these systems are becoming a fundamental part of all our lives.  This new venture will position the University and the East Midlands at the very front of the developments of this new technology, and it will allow us to expand our activities, and work with industry, in establishing a true Centre of Excellence in the East Midlands."


Drawing on expertise from across the university GRACE will support industry both locally and nationally by providing access to research, an expanded portfolio of training and education courses targeted at industrial needs, testing and simulation environments, and support for new applications development.


This Centre of Excellence, designed and constructed by two Nottingham companies, Maber Architects and Clegg construction, will encourage the creation of new companies (and therefore jobs) in the region and attract investment from companies and agencies from outside the region into the East Midlands.


The original motivation for satellite navigation was military applications. Today the range of satellite navigation applications is so broad we may not even be aware we are using them. GNSS is used in huge range of areas such as search and rescue, mapping and geographic information, engineering, meteorology and archeology. However among these uses the most familiar are personal hand-held devices for trekking and systems fitted in cars and mobile messengers.


Attending the ceremony will be Terry Moore, Professor of Satellite Navigation & the Director of the GRACE project, emda Chairman Dr Bryan Jackson OBE who will perform the ground breaking ceremony, Peter Warren from Clegg Construction and Paul Bhatia the newly appointed General Manager of GRACE.


— Ends —


Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.


It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.


Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.



l: Arrive at the Gateway Building, Jubilee Campus, Nottingham, NG8 1BB


Arrive                   10.45


One mins silence at 11am (Remembrance day).


Ground Breaking Ceremony      11.02

Press interviews          11.10 - 11.30


Parking at the side of the Gateway Building - approached from Triumph Road off Derby Road. A map is available on request.

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Terry Moore on +44 (0) 115 951 3886,

Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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