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Minister marks start of NCC expansion work

News International-French

22 May 2013

Construction on the second phase of the NCC got underway with a turf cutting ceremony attended by the Business Minister Michael Fallon. He was joined by a group of major business leaders and academics who are part of this collaborative project.

The doubling in size of the NCC, which is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, is being supported by Government funding of £28 million. The expansion will allow the NCC to extend its capabilities to develop composite technology for the aerospace, automotive, renewable energy and rail sectors. This will bring an additional 50 NCC jobs, 30-50 jobs within the member organisations and 80-150 construction jobs during the build phase.

As well as providing increased capacity and a dedicated high speed composite manufacturing technology facility, there will be a new world-class training centre for higher level and vocational skills development. This will help train the next generation of engineers in composites manufacturing and technologies and bring together leading businesses, colleges and Universities.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "This technology and innovation centre is an important asset for the south west and the UK. It is a real collaborative success story and helping to give us a competitive advantage in composites - a vital technology in high value manufacturing.

"Composites manufacturing is a real growth industry for the future. It’s very exciting to see that work on the extension is now underway thanks to government support and funding. These plans will make it one of the largest research and technology centres of its type in the world and help to maintain our global lead in this technology area. It will increase the centre's ability to get new products from the laboratory to the shop-floor and widen the scope of its activities."

NCC Chief Executive Professor Peter Chivers said, “The Minister’s support reflects the Government’s on-going commitment to High Value Manufacturing and its growth in the UK. The extended NCC will provide for further innovation in composites manufacturing and technology development, skills and education, and offers greater support for SMEs and the supply chain across all sectors. It will be fundamental in enabling the UK to remain competitive in this rapidly growing global market.”

He continued, “As well as initiating the NCC, another key element of the UK Composite Strategy was to form the UK Composite Leadership Forum (CLF), which we have facilitated here at the NCC. The CLF brings together senior industrialists, academics, funders and policy makers to identify and articulate industry’s common needs and shared actions to enable future growth.  With the industry backing, the expert academic research and the state-of-the-art NCC facilities, we now have a world-class platform for catalysing that growth.”

The Government’s Catapult programme is managed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the UK’s innovation agency. The TSB announced that it will invest a record £440 million this year to support innovative businesses and drive growth across the UK. The 2013-14 Delivery Plan sets out the Board’s priorities for the coming year as part of their commitment to knowledge sharing and collaboration.  It also explains how businesses will be able to access an even wider range of support across the entire innovation journey. Technology areas that will benefit from the investment include renewable energy, future cities, advanced materials, satellites, digital technologies and healthcare.