In building a new Jerusalem, the ongoing creation of new research, development and technology centres typify the kinds of foundations for bright ideas that our industry is looking to invest in.
Featured in this issue’s news pages, Cranfield University’s Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) has emerged at the right time and the right place. Aimed to change the way the world thinks about flight, Cranfield University’s £35 million AIRC has been funded by Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Cranfield University, following an award from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The centre plans to be a flagship facility for boosting aerospace research capabilities in the UK, cementing the university’s reputation as a leading aerospace research institution in Europe.
Meanwhile, the Southern Manufacturing Show’s new permanent Farnborough 20,000m² centre is said to be the largest exhibition venue to be built in the UK for two decades. Designed by award-winning architects, Terence O’Rourke, Hall 1 at Farnborough offers world-class facilities, easy access and panoramic runway level views.
Some countries have been slow to support manufacturing growth and wealth creation, and while willing to invest in building research centres, haven’t always been effective in transforming research into commercial product. So, do we begin by building a laboratory, a R&D factory or a new showground?
Juggling either when the funding required can run into millions always carries an element of risk. But while it takes a brave man to catch a falling knife, there’s no doubt that if done properly, they can provide a holistic view of the aerospace industry’s needs.
Providing elements of the past and the future don’t combine to make something not quite as good as either, these locations should ensure continued growth, enabling the UK to consolidate its leading position in demonstrating the economic value that aerospace manufacturing contributes to GDP.
Mike Richardson, editor