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Formal agreement deepens collaboration between Strathclyde and Spirit AeroSystems

Group shot of people sitting at a table signing a document and othersstanding behind

The University of Strathclyde and global components manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems have formalised their history of successful collaboration.

A letter of cooperation between the partners was signed at Spirit’s Prestwick manufacturing site by Strathclyde Principal, Professor Sir Jim McDonald and Spirit Vice President, Finance - Airbus Programs, Tommy Cowan.

The move aims to build on work between the company and the University, including with Strathclyde’s Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering and Design Manufacturing & Engineering Management department on projects to develop innovative manufacturing technologies to help shape the future of aircraft design, manufacture and performance.

The work has been carried out both on the University campus and at Strathclyde’s high-tech manufacturing centre, the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS).

New hub

Spirit and Strathclyde are also set to collaborate through a new purpose built facility in the heart of the campus, a £2.5 million Robotically Enabled Sensing Hub, which is set to be completed later this year in the Royal College Building.

Sir Jim said: “I am delighted to be formalising this collaboration on skills, research and innovation with Spirit AeroSystems at a very exciting time for manufacturing in Scotland.

“Through our Advanced Forming Research Centre and on our main Glasgow campus, we have been working closely with the Spirit team at the Prestwick manufacturing base for a number of years.

Strathclyde and Spirit have been working to help realise the enormous potential of the global aerospace industry and supporting Scotland’s economy.

“This letter of cooperation will strengthen future collaborations and ensure we continue to generate innovative and commercially viable solutions and technologies to translate areas of fundamental research into high impact outcomes.

"It also enables us to support Spirit with their supply chain and strategic priorities by providing access to talent, sponsoring students, creating collaborative opportunities and working in partnership to address research challenges impacting the global aerospace sector.”

Support growth

Spirit AeroSystems is one of the largest manufacturers of aero-structures in the world with design and build capabilities for a wide range of aerospace customers.

It is set open a new 85,000-square-foot Aerospace Innovation Centre at Prestwick later this year to support growth in research and technology.

Tommy Cowan from Spirit said: “Working in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde, gives Spirit access to additional skills and expertise that will help Spirit realise its global goals and ambition.  

“The aim is to develop a ‘gold standard’ model of industrial/academic engagement between Spirit and Strathclyde.”

“The collaboration will drive broader and faster innovation on future aerospace platforms ensuring financial growth for our business and the UK aviation sector, and will support the creation of high value jobs within the Aerospace industry in Scotland.

“We also value Strathclyde as a source of critical future talent for Spirit AeroSystems and our industry partners.”