Aerospace Integrated Research Centre
Aerospace Integrated Research Centre

A new Aerospace Integration Research Centre is to be built at Cranfield University with co-investment partners Airbus and Rolls-Royce, following the award of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The Centre will provide dedicated space and specialist equipment to address future grand challenges which face the aerospace sector. Responding to the Witty report of 2013, which recommended closer collaboration between leading researchers, industrial supply chain partners and key economic players to enhance economic growth, and in collaboration with a wide range of established industrial and academic partners, the Centre will expand upon the regional aerospace hub of research and technology programmes, carried out by higher education partners and global businesses, all with established aerospace expertise.

The Centre will directly contribute to the competitiveness and prosperity of the aerospace industry and the wider UK economy, safe-guarding existing jobs and creating additional work opportunities within the UK aerospace and academic sectors.

Building on Cranfield’s aerospace heritage since 1946, the Centre, opening in 2016, will be a collaborative, world-leading, research facility. Through the integration of airframes propulsion and other systems and technologies, the Centre will research innovative aerospace technologies to enhance performance, emission control and efficiency targets on future aircraft.  

The world-leading research capability in aerospace systems design and integration, through its programme of ambitious and industrially relevant research and innovation, further supports Witty’s recommendations.

Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, Professor Sir Peter Gregson said: “We are delighted to have been successful in securing this additional funding from HEFCE.  The investment from Airbus and Rolls-Royce in this collaborative Centre will change the design of future aircraft. It will reinforce Cranfield’s reputation as a global leader in transformational research, strengthen our strategic relationships with world-renowned businesses and meet the needs of business, government and wider society.”

The Cranfield funding from HEFCE is one of three university and business partnerships receiving a total of £50 million of public investment for research projects to drive innovation and growth in the UK, announced by the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts on Thursday 10th July.

Notes for editors

  • Value of Cranfield University project: £35 million, Co-funding £20 million, UKRPIF award £10 million and Cranfield’s investment of £5 million.
  • The UK has the largest aerospace industry in Europe, contributing £24billion to the UK economy; our competitiveness in the sector underpins 230,000 jobs.
  • The importance of the aerospace industry to the UK economy, and of the University sector within the associated innovation agenda, has been emphasised in the UK government’s industrial strategy for the sector (“Lifting Off – Implementing the Strategic Vision for UK Aerospace”).
  • The 29 June ADS report also found that two-thirds of aerospace companies expect growth of 10 per cent or more next year, while the sector’s exports are now worth £11bn to the economy. The industry directly employs nearly 110,000 in the UK, including 3,300 apprentices and trainees.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.