UK Composites Background

  • The UK's leading position in composites development slipped during the 1990's.
  • UK Composites Strategy, launched in 2009, reflected the UK's growing status at the forefront of composites development.
  • This strategy focused on the development of manufacturing capability and capacity, with recognition that leadership, supply chain, skills, and environmental technologies development play a supporting role.
  • Composites Leadership Forum (CLF) formed mid-2012.

R&D Facilities

  • A network of regional composites centres was established as a result of regional funding policy.
  • An open-access, £25m National Composites Centre (NCC) was announced in 2009 strategy and opened in 2011. Now operating either through a pay-as-you-go or membership model, coordinating composites work with the regional centres.
  • The NCC continues to grow. It joined HVM Catapult in 2011 and announced a £28m expansion plan in late 2012.

Research programmes

  • Industrial composites research projects have been successful in winning funding from EPSRC, TSB, DSTL and EU.
  • Significant TRL 4-6 projects have totalled some £300m over the last 5 years.
  • Materials, AA&D and other KTNs currently identify sectoral needs for collaborative composites research development.
  • CIMComp is a £10m EPSRC funded initiative involving the universities of Nottingham, Bristol, Cranfield and Manchester to undertake underpinning composites research at TRL 1-3.
  • Strategic development of UK composites technology through engagement with all other industry sector roadmaps would increase identification of technology transfer opportunity and prevent duplication of effort.
  • There is still a need for work on the sustainability of composites outlined in the 2009 Strategy.