The National Composites Centre (NCC) will receive an investment of £28m to enhance its capabilities and capacity, Chancellor George Osborne announced yesterday.
In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne said: “Today we’re confirming almost half a billion pounds for scientific projects, from supercomputing and satellite technology to a world-beating animal health laboratory.”
Within that there is a £28 million to increase the capacity of the National Composite Centre in Bristol, which brings together entrepreneurs and academics to deliver world-class innovation in the design and rapid manufacture of composite materials.
The National Composite Centre (NCC), located near Bristol, opened in November 2011 to meet the needs of industry which is increasingly making use of composite materials which are light, strong and corrosion resistant.
The Centre, which is owned by the University of Bristol, has world-class expertise and industrial-scale facilities that are being used to develop the technologies which will result in more fuel efficient land, sea and air vehicles as well as, for example, the next generation of wind and marine renewable energy devices.
The NCC, which is a part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, will invest the money to construct additional facilities adjacent to the existing building. As well as providing increased capacity and a dedicated high speed composite manufacturing technology facility, part of the new building will be utilised to ensure a sustainable future for the Composites Manufacturing skills in the UK workforce by bringing together leading businesses, colleges and Universities at a world-class training facility.
The funding announcement has reinforced the NCC’s continued success in providing a Hub for the UK Composites industry, and brings the total Government funding contribution to the centre to over £40m.
NCC Chief Executive Peter Chivers said the announcement reflected the Government’s on-going commitment to High Value Manufacturing. “Composites, is key to the future of many UK sectors and their endeavours to reduce CO2 emissions. The extended NCC, which will provide for further innovation in multi-sectoral manufacturing and technology development, skills and education, and offering greater support for SME’s and the supply chain, will be fundamental in allowing the UK to remain competitive in this rapidly growing global market.”
Professor Guy Orpen, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research at the University of Bristol said: “This is a clear signal that the renaissance in research-driven high value engineering is a key pillar in the UK’s economy. This is great news for the interface between leading research and industry, for Bristol and for the UK.”
Chairman of the NCC Steering Board speaking for the industrial partners Jim Godman of AgustaWestland welcomed the news and said the investment showed “true collaboration between the UK Government, the National Composites Centre and industry at this critical time”.
The new building is planned to be completed by the second quarter of 2014.