Birmingham Uni and Rolls-Royce create £60m research centre

Posted on 10 Oct 2012

The University of Birmingham and engine-maker Rolls-Royce will create a new £60m research centre to develop greener aircraft engines.

It comes alongside a wave of new partnerships to set up centres with specific research partnerships with industry. Industrial firms typically fund over 50% of the investment, with the rest coming from the university and the government through the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund.

This new facility will be funded by a £40m investment by Rolls-Royce matched by a £20m investment arriving from the government fund.

There is an expectation that an additional £10m will arrive from the private sector through research programmes over the first 5 years of operation.

The High Temperature Research Centre, announced by the Chancellor George Osborne, will be a unique casting, design, simulation and advanced manufacturing research facility. It will research high temperature metallurgy and associated processes for components including turbine blades.

The centre will then draw in additional research competencies related to these areas through wider industry and academic involvement.

Professor David Eastwood, vice-chancellor at University of Birmingham, said: “This new facility will create a step-change in research capability in the UK that will directly benefit the manufacturing sector and enhance the economic competitiveness of the region.”

The centre will allow Rolls-Royce to extend its advanced manufacturing and design research capabilities in a safe space while utilising academics to improve its processes and products.

“High temperature metallurgy and the related advanced manufacturing processes will give our customers more efficient products,” said Dr. Hamid Mughal, executive vice president of manufacturing engineering and technology at Rolls-Royce.

The new centre will deliver applied research programmes focused on delivering casting and related materials research, radical manufacturing process improvements, predictive manufacturing process modelling and ICT tools to enhance fuel efficiency for aircraft.