Manchester awarded £1.5m to establish transatlantic composites partnership

November 07, 2005

Lord Sainsbury, Science and Innovation Minister, has announced that The University of Manchester will be one of only four UK universities to lead transatlantic research partnerships under a new DTI pilot scheme.

The scheme, which is aimed at establishing world-class UK/US collaborations, will see The University of Manchester receive £1.5m over the next two years to develop new composite technologies and materials for future aircraft design in partnership The University of Washington (Seattle).

The partnership will formally establish the Manchester Seattle Composite Partnership (MSCP). The MSCP will work with the Northwest Aerospace Alliance, Airbus, Boeing and a wide range of businesses in the UK and US.

Lord Sainsbury, said: "Building bridges between world class universities and high-tech companies in our two countries is an excellent way to generate new opportunities and drive forward innovative ideas.

"These new science and innovation partnerships will help bring together the best of UK and US universities and companies and help make the UK the best place for science and innovation, increasing industrial competitiveness and knowledge transfer."

Professor Phil Withers, of the University of Manchester, said: "The development of civil aerospace composites is the key to future 'greener' aircraft, but the lack of proven test methodologies and durability assessment procedures is limiting composite take up in new products. What this partnership gives us is the opportunity to unlock the potential composite materials have to offer the aerospace industry."

Manchester's collaboration with Seattle will feed directly into the continuing development and assembly of new composite designs. The project will also focus on the development of new methodologies to test safety levels of composite materials. It will also seek to formally evaluate the constraints of current composite design and certification processes.

The project, which was initiated through the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) of which Manchester and Seattle are members, builds on the composites programme initiated by the Northern Aerospace Technology Exploitation Centre (NATEC) and the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA). A significant part of the project fund will be dedicated to delivering trained graduates in the composite area in the US and the UK.
For further information:

Simon Hunter, Media Relations Officer, telephone: 0161 2758387 or email:

Notes to Editors:

  • Phil Withers is Professor of Materials Science within the School of Materials within the University's Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

  • Imperial College London, University of Cambridge and SETsquared (a consortia of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey) have also been awarded a grant under the DTI's pilot scheme.

  • Funding for the project will commence in April 2006.


  • WUN is an international alliance of 16 research-led higher-education institutions of high standing who have created a worldwide research and education partnership to generate significant advances in knowledge and understanding. The partners are committed to excellence and innovation in research collaboration in multi-disciplinary areas of large-scale global significance. WUN acts to bring faculty together in communities of interest, and provides the infrastructural support and intellectual venture capital required to facilitate establishment and activity within innovative multi-institutional projects.

    University of Manchester

    Related Innovation Articles from Brightsurf:

    Food system innovation -- and how to get there
    Food production has always shaped the lives of humans and the surface of the Earth.

    What is the best way to encourage innovation? Competitive pay may be the answer
    Economists and business leaders agree that innovation is a major force behind economic growth, but many disagree on what is the best way to encourage workers to produce the 'think-outside-of-the-box' ideas that create newer and better products and services.

    Innovation is widespread in rural areas, not just cities
    Conventional measures of innovation suggest that only big cities foster new ideas, but a more comprehensive measure developed at Penn State shows that innovation is widespread even in rural places not typically thought of as innovative.

    Scaling up search for analogies could be key to innovation
    Investment in research is at an all-time high, yet the rate of scientific breakthroughs isn't setting any records.

    Why you should be concerned about Oprah Winfrey when introducing an innovation
    New research by Bocconi University's Paola Cillo and Gaia Rubera with Texas A&M's David Griffith asserts that the reaction of large individual investors to innovation is an important component of stock returns, their reaction to innovation depends on their national culture, and there is a way to segment large individual investors and pitch innovation to them accordingly.

    Responsible innovation key to smart farming
    Responsible innovation that considers the wider impacts on society is key to smart farming, according to academics at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

    Pillars of academic innovation
    Highlights from the Sixth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors, including high-tech solutions to combat child pornography and radicalization materials; groundbreaking programs to promote STEM major retention; and new materials for wearable technology.

    Universities drive innovation in the classroom
    The current issue of Technology and Innovation, Journal of the National Academy of Inventors ® (19.2) examines innovation from the university perspective, highlighting what the most innovative institutions and educators worldwide are doing to prepare future engineers and industry leaders to effectively manage IP to grow their companies and the global economy as a whole.

    How universities are fostering innovation and entrepreneurship
    Technology and Innovation 19.1 zeroes in on innovation and entrepreneurship, with a special focus on what universities are currently doing to foster growth in those areas both for their success and the success of the communities and regions to which they are connected.

    Shaping the future of health innovation
    Future advances in healthcare will be aided by a new £10 million facility -- the National Institute for Health Research Innovation Observatory based at Newcastle University, UK.

    Read More: Innovation News and Innovation Current Events
  • is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to