AVIC NOTTINGHAM University Innovation Centre
The University of Nottingham is developing a new University Innovation Centre (UIC) with one of China’s biggest aerospace businesses.
Under the agreement with ACAE (AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Company Limited) the University, will, over the next three years, undertake a number of civil aerospace research projects in the UIC. The research will include investigating impact damage on composite materials, as well as research into thermal barrier coatings to help improve the performance of engine components such as turbine blades, which have to operate in very high temperatures.
A £3 million deal
The University Innovation Centre being developed with ACAE is worth over £1 million per annum to the University, and follows on from a framework agreement which was signed with ACAE and their parent company, AVIC, earlier this year. AVIC is one of the giants in the Asian aerospace industry, employing over 400,000 people in China and owning assets valued at £29 billion. The company is already sponsoring a group of around 20 of its own employees, who are undertaking postgraduate and masters studies at The University of Nottingham.
First collaboration with a British University
Dr Victor Wang, the R&D Director of ACAE visited Nottingham to witness the contract being signed by the University and to take the documents back to China for signatures. Dr Wang said:
This really is an historic moment for ACAE, as it is the first time we have collaborated with a British University. The University of Nottingham has an excellent reputation for its work in engineering and aerospace, and I am confident that our work with them will enable us to further develop our products and help to give us a competitive advantage in our market.
Professor Andy Long, who is the executive director of the Innovation Centre, said:
The partnership with ACAE is a very exciting development for the University. We have significant expertise in the aerospace sector, and this agreement means that we will be able to further enhance our understanding of composite materials and thermal barrier coatings in this area, leading to the development of new technologies.
Speaking about the University’s work in the aerospace industry, Professor Chris Rudd, the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Business Engagement and Knowledge Transfer, said:
China, together with other Asian economies will drive global civil aerospace growth over the next decade. We recognise that there is a tremendous opportunity for us to build close partnerships with ACAE and AVIC, to help develop innovative new solutions for them. I am sure that this will be just the start of a long and mutually beneficial collaboration between our two organisations.
Strong relationships with Chinese businesses
The collaboration with ACAE is one of a number that the University of Nottingham has recently secured with Chinese businesses this year, through its work on the Ningbo campus and the Asia Business Centre. The University recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the vehicle manufacturer, FAW, to undertake research into thermal management and heat transfer for low carbon vehicles. In addition, China’s largest drinks manufacturer, Wahaha, has agreed to establish joint research centres with the University to investigate a number of areas, ranging from bioenergy to animal feed, food technologies, electrical motors, and robotics.