National Composites Centre receives keys to the building
Press release issued: 13 July 2011
The University of Bristol’s National Composites Centre (NCC) today [13 July 2011] took formal possession of its building, and its Chief Executive received a large, symbolic key to mark the occasion.
The NCC’s incredible 20-month journey began in November 2009 with the publication of the UK Composites Strategy by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the selection of Bristol as the location for the NCC and the University of Bristol as owner and host of the Centre. The Bristol and Bath Science Park was identified as the specific site for the building in March 2010.
In June 2010 the five founding members (GKN Aerospace, Airbus, AgustaWestland, Rolls-Royce and Vestas) signed long-term partnerships with the NCC. In the same month planning permission from South Gloucestershire Council was granted.
Physical work on the site began in August 2010. Construction work continued at breakneck speed and the building was finished in June. Also in June Umeco PLC joined the founding members.
Commenting on this, Peter Chivers, the NCC’s Chief Executive, said: “The construction of this centre in such a short timescale is an outstanding success. To think that only one year ago work hadn’t even begun on the building and the site was a green field.
“This is a tremendous achievement. I can now concentrate on supporting UK manufacturers and ensuring that the skills of the NCC’s staff and partners can help translate world-renowned research into manufacturing excellence.”
Professor Guy Orpen, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol and Chair of the NCC Board, said: “This is a remarkable achievement and a credit to all who have been involved. It has been achieved through successful partnering, and I would like to thank funders and our members for the focus and support they have provided over the past year and a half. The stage is now set for us to make a significant contribution to the global composites industry."
Jane Henderson, CEO of the South West RDA, said: “The SW Regional Development Agency is proud to have played a key role in bringing the industrial partners and University of Bristol together and to make the applications which secured £12 million from BIS, £4 million from the Agency and paved the way for £9 million of European Regional Development Agency funds.
“We congratulate the hard work of the University and their contractors, and are immensely grateful for the tremendous support of the industrial members. We wish the Centre, and the Bristol and Bath Science Park, every success in future.”
Peter Young, Managing Director of main contractors Kier Western, said: “Speed was of the essence for this project. Maintaining the highest standards of safety management was paramount and I am particularly proud of the part that our team played in achieving an accident free scheme in a build period of less than six months.
“The whole team worked together magnificently to help the University of Bristol bring this world-class research facility into the city.”
Gary Milliner, Director of architects Stride Treglown, said: “From the very first appointment through to planning and now completion, this development has been a highly efficient process as well as such an exciting project to work on. We are delighted to see our plans coming to fruition in creating a sustainable, fully functional and exciting building worthy of such a dynamic group.”
The Centre is already operational and will be able to offer full capability by September. The Centre will be formally opened and launched later in the year.
Further informationAbout Composite Materials (Composites)
Composites are made from at least two materials that together deliver engineering properties that are superior to those of the materials on their own. In practice, most composites consist of a weaker bulk material and a reinforcement of some kind, added primarily to increase the strength and stiffness of the material. It is the material modern tennis racquets, aeroplane wings, F1 chassis and large wind turbines are made of.
About the NCC
The NCC is located on the Bristol and Bath Science Park. It is owned and operated by the University of Bristol, and draws on established links to world-class composites research at Bristol and other UK universities.
The NCC is part of the first Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) – for High Value Manufacturing (HVM). The HVM TIC will provide an integrated capability and embrace all forms of manufacture using metals and composites, in addition to process manufacturing technologies and bioprocessing.
It will draw on excellent university research to accelerate the commercialisation of new and emerging manufacturing technologies. This was the first of an elite network of Technology and Innovation Centres that are being established by the Technology Strategy Board with over £200 million of Government investment overall.
The NCC’s mission is ‘To be an independent, open-access national centre that delivers world-class innovation in the design and rapid manufacture of composites and facilitates their widespread industrial exploitation.’
In November 2009 the Government launched the UK Composites Strategy. This highlighted the importance of composites to the future of UK manufacturing and the Government’s plans for ensuring that the UK has the means to succeed in intensely competitive global markets.
A key part of this strategy was the establishment of the National Composites Centre (NCC), which will bring together dynamic companies and enterprising academics to develop new technologies for the design and rapid manufacture of high-quality composite products. The combination of academic and business strengths will speed progress from laboratory to design to factory and into products.
The NCC is a £25 million investment supported by: the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (£12 million); the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency) (£4 million); and £9 million from the European Research Development Fund (ERDF).
ERDF Competitiveness in the South West has one objective - to increase the prosperity of the region through supporting enterprises and individuals to develop ideas and plans which contribute to increase productivity and competitiveness. This objective is supported by four operational objectives:
• Increasing the productivity of the region’s business base, through the promotion and support of innovation, research and development and the application of knowledge;
• Reduce intra-regional disparities through stimulating enterprise and accelerating business growth in those parts of the region lagging behind;
• To increase employment and enterprise in the region's most disadvantaged communities; and
• Protect and enhance the region's environmental assets and work towards developing a low carbon economy.
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills provided £12 million towards the project from its Strategic Investment Fund which supported a small number of high-impact manufacturing related projects across the UK.
About Kier Western
Kier Western, part of Kier Group, offers a comprehensive construction service to public and private sector clients throughout the south-west of England and South Wales. Recent projects include the award-winning new Council Offices for South Gloucestershire Council in Yate, four new Sainsbury’s (in Newport, Helston, Trowbridge and Bath) and the new composite manufacturing facility for the Airbus A350 wing manufacturer GKN Aerospace at Avonmouth. As well as the new National Composites Centre in at the Science Park in Emerson’s Green between Bristol and Bath projects under construction include the new £28 million leisure pool at Hengrove, and the second phase of the multi-million pound Estover Community College (now Tor Bridge High) in Plymouth. It is also building its first ‘overseas’ project, with the award of the new Five Island Secondary School being built on the Isles of Scilly.