Plans for a new £60 million research centre – a partnership between the University of Birmingham and Rolls-Royce – have been unveiled at the Conservative Party conference in the city.
Chancellor George Osborne announced the proposals for the High Temperature Research Centre, aimed at developing new aeroplane engines for greener air travel.
The facility will be funded by a £40 million investment by Rolls-Royce matched by a £20 million investment from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), through the UK Research Partnerships Investment Fund.
A 6,000 sq m site in the West Midlands will be chosen in the next four weeks and the centre is due to open by the end of 2014.
Professor David Eastwood, vice-chancellor, University of Birmingham said: “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.”
The new centre will initially focus on investment casting, design for manufacture and systems simulation and the university expects an additional £10 million of private sector revenue through research programmes from industry in the first five years.
It will also look at manufacturing process improvements and modelling and ICT tools to enhance product quality and production efficiency.
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.
“It will be unique in the world, keeps high value manufacturing within the UK and marks a quarter of a century partnership between the University of Birmingham and Rolls-Royce.”
Dr Hamid Mughal, Rolls-Royce executive vice president, manufacturing engineering and technology, said: “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.”