In a powerful and positive example of ongoing collaboration in the European and UK innovation community, Deputy Prime Minister of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg Etienne Schneider and the NCC’s Executive Director of Strategy and Business Alison Starr signed a historic collaborative innovation agreement.
The agreement between the NCC and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) sets out to advance the innovation capability and capacity across the two organisations. Luxembourg’s aspirations to strengthen its (already strong) innovation capacity are supported by €1 billion for programmes and infrastructure, including the opening later this year of a €60m composites centre. The new centre will complement LIST’s capabilities, which include bio-based materials, nano additives and life cycle analysis, all of which are of interest to the NCC.
The UK has a successful track record of innovation, illustrated by the Government’s continued commitment to the work of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult and the wider Catapult programme. The NCC – part of the HVM Catapult – opened in 2011 and now employs over 200 staff. The NCC supports industry in research and development for composites products and manufacturing processes. Offering open access to the latest technologies, expertise and collaboration opportunities, the NCC has the means to research, design, develop, prototype and test across a full range of relevant sectors. It has partnerships with Research and Technology Organisation’s and Universities in the UK and globally, to ensure delivery of the optimum solutions for industry.
Minister Mr Etienne Schneider said, “Luxembourg is very willing to help the UK maintain links in Europe after Brexit. We want to work with UK companies especially SMEs to maximise benefits in collaborative partnerships.”
Alison Starr, Executive Director Strategy & Business at the NCC said:
“This is an exciting opportunity for the NCC. We have established a world leading position in composites technology and our open innovation environment has led to many collaborative projects over the last 5 years. This MOU further enhance our capability to support and advance our knowledge and expertise, therefore enabling us to deliver the best for our customers.”
Simon Edmonds, Director – Manufacturing & Materials at Innovate UK said:
“This important MoU between the National Composites Centre and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology is a positive endorsement of our Catapult programme and the UK’s high value manufacturing sector. The two organisations have a shared interest in exploiting the huge opportunities of composites for the mutual benefit of both organisations. The NCC, like all our Catapult centres, has strong international links which we are keen to build even further.”
Dick Elsy, CEO – High Value Manufacturing Catapult said:
“Despite the challenges posed by the Brexit vote in the UK, the innovation community in Europe continues to get on with the job and to collaborate. This MOU with our colleagues from LIST in Luxembourg is a great example of partner nations recognising that innovation has no boundaries and that we need to bring together the best in Europe to be competitive in a global market”.
The MOU between the NCC and LIST offers an important opportunity to grow knowledge through partnership. This is a model that the NCC has utilised already with other leading intuitions such as the Japanese National Composites Centre and the Stichting Thermoplastic Composites Centre in the Netherlands, alongside University research groups across the world including the University of Bristol. The link between LIST and NCC will further advance exploitation of the opportunities of composites for the UK.