University of Birmingham and Rolls-Royce announce £60m High Temperature Research Centre

Posted on Tuesday 9th October 2012

The Chancellor George Osborne announced today (8th October) that the University of Birmingham and Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, will be establishing a new £60m High Temperature Research Centre.  The Centre will help develop future generations of aero engines, making greener, more efficient air travel possible.  Bringing together a leading global company with an internationally-recognised research group this new centre builds on a longstanding successful collaboration between the two organisations.

The new centre will be a unique casting, design, simulation and advanced manufacturing research facility. Focussed initially on the key manufacturing areas of investment casting, design for manufacture and systems simulation, the centre will then draw in additional research competencies related to these areas through wider industry and academic involvement. 

Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham said: “Drawing on the University of Birmingham’s outstanding research base this new facility will create a step-change in research capability in the UK which will directly benefit the manufacturing sector of the economy and enhance the economic competitiveness of the region. We are delighted to be strengthening our long-standing partnership with Rolls-Royce, one of the UK’s flagship companies.”

Dr. Hamid Mughal, Rolls-Royce, Executive Vice President, Manufacturing Engineering and Technology said; “We are delighted to be extending our advanced manufacturing and design research capabilities with the proposed development of the High Temperature Research Centre. This type of industrial and academic collaboration plays a crucial role in enabling high quality product and process innovation. High temperature metallurgy and the related advanced manufacturing processes will give our customers more efficient products and we are very pleased to strengthen our strategic partnership with the University of Birmingham in this key area of research.”

Professor Paul Bowen, Head of the School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham said: 'This investment underscores the global influence of the University of Birmingham’s metallurgical research and will build on the University of Birmingham’ s recent investment in infrastructure and staff.  This new centre will build on a track-record of excellence in casting, materials, engineering and manufacturing research at Birmingham.  The deep trust between the two organisations that has enabled this new venture to be assembled, owes much to the long term partnership built between Rolls Royce and the University of Birmingham over 25 years.  This relationship has been underpinned throughout by Research Council (EPSRC) and TSB funding dating back to our IRC in Materials for High Performance Applications and is now underpinned by the Rolls Royce/EPSRC Strategic Partnership. The close collaboration between the two organisations is also typified by their interactions in establishing the Manufacturing Technology Centre supported by the Regional Development Agencies and now by Catapult Centre funding through BIS.'

The new Centre will deliver world-class fundamental and applied research programmes focussed around delivering underpinning casting and related materials research, radical manufacturing process improvements and predictive manufacturing process modelling,  and the development of research into ICT tools to enhance product quality and production efficiency.

This new facility will be funded by a £40million investment by Rolls-Royce plc matched by a £20million investment from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), through the UK Research Partnerships Investment Fund. This major new public and private capital investment will provide a significant economic stimulus for the UK and new high skilled jobs.  There is an expectation that an additional £10million of private sector revenues through research programmes from the wider industrial base interacting will be possible over the first 5 years of operation.

Notes to editors

For further information or images please contact Jo Kite, Head of Media Relations, University of Birmingham on +44 (0)121 414 6681 or email j.r.kite@bham.ac.uk

Image:  Left-Right Steve Taylor, University of Birmingham, Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor University of Birmingham, George Osborne, Hamid Mughal, Rolls-Royce, Executive Vice President, Manufacturing Engineering and Technology.

About University of Birmingham

1. The University of Birmingham is a truly vibrant, global community and an internationally-renowned institution. Ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 4,000 international students from nearly 150 countries.

2. The University is home to nearly 30,000 students. With more than 7,500 postgraduate students from across the world, Birmingham is one of the most popular universities for postgraduate study in the UK.

3. The University plays an integral role in the economic, social and cultural growth of local and regional communities; working closely with businesses and organisations, employing approximately 6,000 staff and providing 10,000 graduates annually.

About Rolls-Royce

1. Rolls-Royce is a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, and has established a strong position in global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy.

2. As a result of this strategy, Rolls-Royce has a broad customer base comprising more than 500 airlines, 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators, 160 armed forces, more than 4,000 marine customers, including 70 navies, and energy customers in more than 80 countries.

3. Annual underlying revenue was £11.3 billion in 2011, of which more than half came from the provision of services. The firm and announced order book stood at £60.1 billion at 30 June 2012, providing visibility of future levels of activity.

4. Rolls-Royce employs over 40,000 people in offices, manufacturing and service facilities in over 50 countries. Over 11,000 of these employees are engineers.

5. In 2011, Rolls-Royce invested £908 million on research and development, two thirds of which had the objective of further improving the environmental performance of its products, in particular reducing emissions.

6. Rolls-Royce supports a global network of 28 University Technology Centres, which connect the company’s engineers with the forefront of scientific research.

7. The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills.