Business Minister Anna Soubry has announced that Loughborough University has been awarded nearly £10 million of government funding to create a new open access National Centre of Excellence in Gas Turbine Combustion Aerodynamics. The centre will allow UK industry to access state-of-the-art facilities and will lead research and technology development in gas turbine combustion - a central feature of large jet engines.
This funding comes after the government committed an extra £900 million for aerospace R&D, helping to maintain the UK’s position as a global powerhouse in the aerospace sector. The money, announced in the 2015 Spending Review, will be match funded by industry meaning that the total joint commitment is now £3.9 billion from 2013.
Business Minister Anna Soubry said:
The UK aerospace sector is one of our great success stories. It’s an industry which is flying high and provides the highly skilled jobs that are needed to grow our economy. That’s why we have extended our commitment to aerospace R&D by a further £900 million over the next 10 years.
Loughborough University is renowned for its world-leading research in aerospace and engineering. This new Centre of Excellence will deliver the next generation of greener, more efficient gas turbine engines and new projects like this will help maintain our position as a world leader in aerospace and help the industry to maintain its sky high success.
Figures released by the aerospace trade body, ADS Group, last week showed that 2015 was a record year for aircraft production showing the importance of supporting aerospace projects like these to meet growing global demand.
The new Centre of Excellence will replace and enhance capability that previously existed at Rolls-Royce. The company is making a contribution to the value of £4 million, embedded in a research environment, enabling industry and academia to accelerate technology innovation and development.
The aim of the Centre will be to research and test new greener and more efficient combustion technologies required to meet emissions targets and drive product competitiveness.
The project has been awarded the money from the joint government and industry funding programme for aerospace R&D, delivered in partnership by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK.
Professor Robert Allison, Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University, said:
The University is delighted to be developing this pioneering National Centre of Excellence.
Loughborough has a long tradition of working closely with industry, aligning its research activities with the requirements of companies and organisations. The boundaries between research, design, development and manufacture are becoming increasingly blurred, and so it makes absolute sense to bring the researchers and engineers together to ensure the fast pull through of technology to industry.
This new Centre for Excellence will help Britain lead the way in this important scientific field and I hope more young people, particularly women, are able to benefit from the exciting opportunities these new facilities will bring.
By creating new roles within engineering, the Centre also has a vital role to play securing our future talent pipeline – helping to provide the knowledge and skills in demand in our modern economy.
Simon Weeks, Chief Technology Officer of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said:
Reducing the environmental impact of future aircraft is central to the Institute’s Technology Strategy for UK aerospace, and key to retaining leadership in aircraft engines. The new Loughborough University Centre of Excellence for Gas Turbine Combustion will create a world-class centre for developing low-emission combustion technologies for future generations of engines, and the unique facilities and skills in the centre will provide broad spill-over benefits into other sectors.
Chris Barkey, Director - Engineering and Technology, Rolls-Royce, said:
We welcome the significant new investment announced today by the Business Minister. The new Centre will play a key role in helping the UK develop the advanced technologies needed to meet international environmental performance targets. By enabling closer cooperation between the university and industry, it will also help train the next generation of highly skilled engineers and scientists. I am delighted that we are able to further strengthen our strategic partnership with Loughborough University through this investment.
Preliminary work began on the new facility in August 2015 and it is expected that the centre will be operational in early 2018.