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New centre places Loughborough at heart of UK aerospace engineering and technology development

The Business Minister, Anna Soubry MP, has today announced £9.8 million of funding towards the establishment of a new facility that will position Loughborough University as a primary UK hub for aerospace engineering and technology.

The Government funding is being delivered through a partnership of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK.

The National Centre of Excellence in Gas Turbine Combustion System Aerodynamics will focus on the development of future low emission aerospace combustion systems that will reduce the environmental impact of aircraft. Rolls-Royce will be a lead partner in the project, building on the existing relationship between Loughborough University and Rolls-Royce. 

The Centre will allow industrial problem-owners to visit and work closely with academic researchers to ensure that new technologies are translated from theory to practice as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

It will also become a training ground for current and future aerospace engineers in a critical skill area for the UK.

The Centre will include new laboratory and office space, which will sit alongside the existing Unsteady Fluid Mechanics Laboratory – part of the Loughborough-based Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) – on Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park. The facilities will be available to a range of users from a variety of industrial sectors.

Of the new development, Professor Robert Allison, Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University, says: “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.”

“The aerospace industry has been set some challenging goals for reducing the environmental impact of air travel, and one way that future aircraft will meet this is through lower engine emissions,” said Dr Simon Weeks, Chief Technology Officer of the Aerospace Technology Institute. “The Institute is proud to support this new National Centre of Excellence at Loughborough University. Not only will it keep the UK at the forefront of gas turbine combustion, and help retain our global leadership in aircraft engines, but it will deliver broad spill-over benefits into other sectors.”

Chris Barkey, Director – Engineering & 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 and it is expected that the Centre will be operational in early 2018.

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