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The UK’s new GBP 30 million National Composites Network was launched in London this week by Minister Jacqui Smith.
The funding package comes out of plans recently published in the UK department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) five year programme ‘Creating Wealth from Knowledge’ and the DTI’s new industrial policy as a champion of science, innovation and technology.
The National Composites Network will have regional centres specialising in particular areas of composites technology, helping to create and secure thousands of high quality manufacturing jobs. Composite technologies are a vital part of industry because they can lead to lighter structures that can be used for purposes such as artificial limbs and sports goods.
Jacqui Smith said that “”today I am launching a partnership package worth GBP30million to boost composite technologies. We have some of the best manufacturers in the world, and the Government is committed to supporting innovative technologies in the UK, to maintain their success.”
Smith added that “”science, innovation and technology will be the key to Britain’s industrial future so the Composites Network will be an invaluable tool for companies from construction to automotive but will also make a huge direct difference to people’s quality of life.””
The National Composites Network will:
bring together industry experts in composites;
share knowledge in composites across different industries and between companies; and
help smaller companies source their research and development and access state of the art technology.
The Department of Trade and Industry is putting GBP4.75 million into the network from its Technology Programme, announced in April. The UK’s various Regional Development Agencies are putting in a further GBP14 million, with industry contributions bringing the total funding up to GBP30 million.
The National Composites Network is the first recipient of the DTI’s new Knowledge Transfer Network grants from the Technology Programme announced in April, with the network being run by GKN, the Motor Industries Research Association, the British Marine Federation, the Composites Processing Association, Airbus and TWI (formerly the Welding Institute). Other key players, including NetComposites, are also actively involved in the network.
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