Take-off for centre of excellence in aerospace

Passenger Jet Aircraft
09 Dec 2010 12:15:00.000


The University of Nottingham confirms its position as a global leader in aerospace research with the launch of its new Institute for Aerospace Technology on December 14.

The new Institute will drive development of cutting-edge technology in one of the University’s key research areas, with the aim of radically improving all aspects of air transport.

The Institute is being established with funding of £3.6m from the European Regional Development Fund. This will support a major infrastructure investment, and a business engagement and knowledge transfer programme supporting regional small to medium-sized enterprises.

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At the launch event for the Institute, guests from all over the world will have the chance to meet Nottingham’s researchers, visit laboratories and view demonstrations of the latest research technologies.

The University has recently identified aerospace as one of its priority research areas, acknowledging the potential for growth and its ability to deliver influential world-class research and knowledge transfer that addresses global issues and challenges.

Nottingham has a substantial research portfolio related to aerospace applications and technologies, with projects valued in excess of £35million, including more than £20million in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Aerospace research at Nottingham involves more than 50 academic researchers working in internationally recognised research groups, often — though not exclusively — in partnership with leading aerospace companies including Rolls-Royce, GE, Airbus/EADS, Boeing, BAE Systems, Bombardier, GKN, and Goodrich.

Professor Andy Long, Director of the Institute, said: “The Institute for Aerospace Technology provides a strategic focus for our research and knowledge transfer activities, and will enable us to ensure that our world leading basic research is developed and applied to solve some of the key technological challenges faced by the industry.”

Speakers at the December 14 launch event include:

• Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham — Welcome
• Liam Breslin, Head of Unit, Aerospace, DG Research, European Commission — ‘European collaboration in aeronautics research’
• Dr Hamid Mughal, Executive Vice-President of Manufacturing and Technology, Rolls Royce — ‘The challenges facing the aerospace industry’
• Professor Andy Long, Director of the Institute, University of Nottingham — ‘The Institute for Aerospace Technology’

Current research themes for aerospace which will become a key focus for the Institute include:

• Advanced manufacturing
• Advanced materials
• Applied optics and non-destructive evaluation
• Electromagnetics
• Polymer composites
• Power electronics, machines and control
• Satellite navigation technologies
• Structural integrity and dynamics
• Thermodynamics and fluid dynamics

The University’s commitment to this area of research will be underlined with the building of a large new Aerospace Technology Centre at The University of Nottingham Innovation Park, adjacent to Jubilee Campus.

The Centre, due for completion in early 2012, will be a dedicated research and knowledge transfer facility which will support development and demonstration of advanced prototype technology. Suggestions and proposals are now being invited from potential industry partners, to populate the facility.

The Institute’s Business Engagement Programme will establish links with new companies from start-ups and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to major multinationals, and explore additional areas of collaboration with existing partners, many leading to long-term relationships. There are many ways for businesses to interact with the Institute to attract talent, improve their innovation capacity and solve technology problems.

The Business Engagement programme will help businesses access these opportunities through, continuing professional development and training events, themed technology events and workshops and graduate placements within local SMEs.

More information is available at: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/aerospace/index.aspx

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.

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.

— Ends —

Notes to editors:

About ERDF nationally
— The ERDF Programme aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by supporting regional economic development.

The ERDF objectives for England are:
• Promoting innovation and knowledge transfer
• Stimulating enterprise and supporting successful business
• Ensuring sustainable development, production and consumption
• Building sustainable communities
• Improving accessibility and connectivity (for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly only — as part of their Convergence Programme).

A Programme Monitoring Committee consisting of regional stakeholders such as Government Offices, RDAs, Regional Assemblies, Local Authorities, Sub-regional Partnerships, Higher Education Institutions, Trade Unions, and the private and voluntary sectors will monitor and oversee programme implementation in each region.

For more information on ERDF funding generally, please visit www.communities.gov.uk/citiesandregions/european or http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/funds/feder/index_en.htm

About ERDF in the East Midlands — The East Midlands is eligible for €268.5m between 2007 and 2013, which when combined with match funding, provides a programme value of approximately €537m — a significant investment in the economic development of the region.

The East Midlands qualifies as a competitiveness and employment region under the EU’s Cohesion Policy, which aims to meet the EU Lisbon objective to become ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social inclusion.’

East Midlands Development Agency (emda) is responsible for the programme management and delivery of the region’s 2007-13 ERDF Competitiveness Programme. The responsibility for ERDF programme management was transferred from the Government Office for the East Midlands (GOEM) to emda following a decision by the UK Government to seek greater alignment between ERDF and regional strategies and funding streams. The 2007-13 ERDF Programme is therefore set firmly within the framework of the Regional Economic Strategy.

A Programme Monitoring Committee, chaired by the Regional Director of Government Office for the East Midlands (GOEM), guides the strategic direction of the programme and works closely with emda.

To find out more about ERDF, the region’s strategy for delivering the funds, how to apply for funding and how the programme is managed, please visit www.eastmidlandserdf.org.uk

The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 39,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news

Facts and figures at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/about/facts/factsandfigures.aspx

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Andy Long, Director, Institute for Aerospace Technology, University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 3779, aclong@nottingham.ac.uk; Ben Sumner, Project and Business Manager, Institute for Aerospace Technology, University of Nottingham, +44 (0)115 846 7617, ben.sumner@nottingham.ac.uk; Jill Minter, Engineering Marketing Manager, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 3629, jill.minter@nottingham.ac.uk
Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: tim.utton@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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