New National Composites Centre Announced

29 November 2009

The South West has been named as the location of a new National Composites Centre (NCC) as part of the UK Composites Strategy, announced today. The Centre will be led by the University of Bristol in partnership with industry.

The NCC marks a further milestone in the development of a low-carbon economy. It will be an independent, open-access national centre to help deliver world-class innovation in the design and rapid manufacture of composites and enable widespread industrial exploitation.

The Centre will form an international hub, linking activities across all sectors of the UK in research, education and training, technology transfer and incubation of new enterprises.

The South West was selected as the Centre’s location because the region is one of the most significant developers of, and investors in, carbon-fibre composites, and has some of the most important and advanced end-users and exporters in the country. It is estimated that in excess of £450m has already been committed in composite-related investments (from the public and private sectors) in the region in the last six years.

Jim Knight, Regional Minister for the South West, said:

"The University, in partnership with international partners, has already made great progress in the development of new industries and technologies in the region. For example the Composite Structures Development Centre which is part of National Composites Network based in Airbus at Filton has already developed cutting-edge wing design for the international market.

The region already has a high level skill base in the aerospace sector. By offering the workforce increased training, through in-company training and Train to Gain, we can achieve this exciting skills transfer through this new centre.

I fully support the region's high aspirations for our low-carbon economy and this new centre will go along way in developing and designing light materials across a number of key sectors. This includes green technologies and by bringing our universities and businesses together, the region will continue to be a pathfinder in developing new composite materials in the UK."

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