A £92 million National Automotive Innovation Campus is to be established at the University of Warwick, with contributions from government, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors technical centre.
The NAIC will be part-funded through the Government’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, which supports university capital research projects. Chancellor George Osborne has announced on Monday October 8 a further £200 million of public investment in the fund.
George Osborne said at the Tory party conference: “Today we deliver with some of our leading businesses and universities £1 billion of new science investment in the areas where we lead the world.”
The Government, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) will invest £92 million in the creation and operation of NAIC at the University of Warwick. JLR and TMETC, working closely with WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) at the University of Warwick, expect a 10 times return on investment through value added from exploitation of research outputs in new and improved products, processes and services.
NAIC will create and develop automotive technologies to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions and will also develop a stronger supplier base in the UK. It will also address a shortage of skilled R&D staff in the automotive supply chain, helping to create a pipeline of skilled people, including the creation of many apprentices in specific areas of vehicle technology.
This new initiative aligns with the recently announced WMG Academy which will be providing vocationally focused education for 14–19 year olds seeking a career in engineering and technology sectors.
“The automotive industry in the UK has seen a recent resurgence, but for the UK to remain internationally competitive we must create urgently a critical mass in research excellence,” said WMG chairman and founder Professor Lord Bhattacharyya. “Our vision is to create the National Automotive Innovation Campus where we link people, research and world-leading infrastructure to create and develop novel technologies.”
NAIC is expected to be an engine for economic growth, with wide economic benefit. Academic and industry teams will work together in modern buildings, with tailored equipment and digital solutions to create and integrate breakthrough technologies with a whole system approach crossing multiple disciplines.”
Tony Harper, head of research & advanced system engineering at JLR, said “The Automotive Industry in the UK is currently enjoying a period of resurgence with Jaguar Land Rover at its heart. We need, however, to take steps now to ensure that growth is enhanced and sustained in the long-term. The National Automotive Innovation campus is just such a step and will bring together the best of British creative talent at WMG to ensure that the UK continues to thrive through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for our industry”.