On Monday 10 September, over eighty invited guests attended a celebration lunch, held in a marquee in the Courtyard of the Baker Building, to inaugurate a major new gas turbine research centre to be based in Cambridge.
The University Gas Turbine Partnership (UGTP) extends a relationship with Rolls-Royce plc which has placed a succession of key technology acquisition programmes with the University for nearly 30 years. Rolls-Royce plc has supported turbomachinery research in the University since the Whittle Laboratory was opened in 1972. The new UGTP will include the Whittle Laboratory, but will be broader in scope, including additional activities in other parts of the Engineering Department.
The Director of the UGTP is Professor Ann Dowling FREng, Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University. The UGTP activities will be co-ordinated for Rolls-Royce plc by Dr David Clarke, Head of Technology Strategy and Research. Funding of the UGTP includes two professorships, two lectureships, and a range of support staff to run the day-to-day activities. Research activities under the UGTP will also help to strengthen Rolls-Royce plc's position as a world leading supplier of power systems for aerospace, marine and energy markets. Rolls-Royce plc will also promote individual projects within the UGTP, some of which will be jointly funded by the EPSRC, by the Department of Trade and Industry under the Government's CARAD initiative and by the European Commission.
Professor Ann Dowling said: "This partnership brings together the University of Cambridge and Rolls-Royce plc, both committed to technological excellence. It builds on the trust and mutual understanding developed through decades of collaboration. At the heart of the partnership is a group of academics, world leaders in their own fields, who believe that research is most exciting and challenging when it addresses issues of relevance to industry. Such projects attract excellent students - it is thrilling for students to see their research results influencing the next generation of aircraft engines.
Many industries fund individual research projects. What is special about this relationship with Rolls-Royce is that they are making a commitment to support research leaders, professors and lecturers and these additional staff posts enable us and to expand the scope of our activities. Moreover through the rolling five-year agreement we can offer job security to researchers and technical staff. Whittle developed his jet engine while a student in our department. Equally inventive minds are needed to work on today's research challenges-the next generation of gas turbines."