Posted: Wed 20th Apr 2016

Universities Join Forces to Pioneer Optical Research From North Wales Technology Centre

This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 20th, 2016

Two universities have joined forces to pioneer world-leading optical research from a technology centre in North Wales.

Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s OpTIC Centre, based in St Asaph has this week signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Huddersfield.

The partnership will see the two institutions collaborate and develop each other’s capability in arenas of metrology and engineering – along with jointly bidding for grand funding and tendering for contracts.

Huddersfield follows other universities in basing themselves at the world-leading Denbighshire facility, including Swansea and Cranfield. These leading Universities are all working alongside the 18 innovative companies currently resident in the OpTIC facility, producing leading edge technology products.

The OpTIC centre is also the home of Glyndŵr Innovations Ltd, offering business management support, incubation and conference facilities alongside their technical service commercial group who provide support and manufacturing including opto-mechanical engineering design, fabrication and test of large optical components and systems.

Caroline Gray, Director of the OpTIC Centre, said the alliance will serve both the University and the region in further enhancing its position in the sector.

“We are delighted to have formalised this collaborative link with the University of Huddersfield,” said Caroline.

“Together we are working at the forefront of optical technology and coming together will strengthen our ability to garner funding for major projects and go on to achieve even more in terms of research and technological capabilities.

“That in turn has a positive impact on the North Wales economy, and on the universities’ reputation in these fields.”

Huddersfield has its own innovative Centre for Precision Technologies (CPT) for collaborative metrology research, solving real-world manufacturing problems through cutting edge metrology research in precision engineering.

Professor Liam Blunt, Director of CPT at the University of Huddersfield said: “We are delighted to enter into this Memorandum of Understanding with Wrexham Glyndŵr University.

“CPT has its own state-of-the-art optical instrument and precision manufacturing laboratories and we have a number of researchers who specialise in optical instrumentation research for surface metrology and ultra precision manufacture. We see this as a great opportunity to develop not only our relationship with Wrexham Glyndŵr but to also develop new areas of collaborative research where both partners can join forces.”

It’s an exciting time for the OpTIC Centre, with new businesses taking-up incubation units and having received a grant to attract businesses from the UK’s £11.8billion space sector granted by UK Space Agency and its Innovation and Growth Strategy: Space Growth Action Plan.

Their proposal highlighted the need to grow space industries in UK regions by providing a supportive commercial environment to assist entrepreneurs to grow and develop small companies.

Caroline said: “The vision is to ensure a high-quality, consistent supply chain for the sector. Glyndŵr Innovations will maximise and expand current links to form a North Wales base of knowledge transfer, technological expertise and a programme of business and technical support in an environment which allows small companies to concentrate on growth and development without the constant pressure of everyday business concerns.”

The OpTIC Centre celebrated 10 years in 2015, and in past months scientists at the facility completed a €5M project to produce prototype mirror segments and test facilities for what will be the world’s largest telescope, the £900m E-ELT project (European-Extremely Large Telescope) to be sited in Chile.

For more information on Glyndŵr Innovations, visit http://www.glyndwrinnovations.co.uk

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