University of Virginia to Join Rolls-Royce University Technology Centers Network


Rolls-Royce will announce Wednesday that the University of Virginia is joining the global Rolls-Royce University Technology Centers network, comprising research groups in world-class universities identified to develop long-term research and technology programs. Creating such a center provides each party with mutual benefits through funding of fundamental, collaborative research to advance key aerospace technologies critical to Rolls-Royce.

The announcement will be made prior to the Rolls-Royce Distinguished Lecture, presented by Lourdes Maurice, executive director of the Federal Aviation Administration office on Environment and Energy, at the U.Va. School of Engineering and Applied Science.

(A similar announcement of a partnership with Virginia Tech was to be made in Blacksburg on Tuesday.)

Rolls-Royce has enjoyed a strong relationship with U.Va. for more than a decade. Together with Virginia Tech and Rolls-Royce, they form the Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems and are founding members of the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing. Today’s incorporation as a University Technology Center allows more specific, technical research at the university level, leveraging the strengths of the University, which could eventually lead to new product development.

“We have a strong commitment to the commonwealth of Virginia to build an advanced manufacturing and an aerospace industry hub at our Rolls-Royce Crosspointe campus in Prince George County,” said Ric Parker, director of research & technology, Rolls-Royce plc. “Today’s announcement further strengthens our relationship with one of the commonwealth’s leading academic institutions, U.Va., by launching research projects that will ultimately be adopted on a global scale.”

The University Technology Center at U.Va. will specialize in the study of advanced material systems, flow modelling and other fields. U.Va. will work closely with Rolls-Royce to investigate ceramic matrix composite materials for use in aerospace and other high-technology markets. CMCs offer high strength at the extreme temperatures and pressures encountered in aerospace applications, but with significantly reduced weight.

U.Va. also provides cutting-edge capability in advanced coatings, including novel compositions and application methods. Advanced coating technology is required to take full advantage of CMCs, so this new University Technology Center takes advantage of the synergy of both capabilities existing at the same institution.

Complementary areas of research at U.Va. include catalytic coatings, soot emissions, aqueous corrosion and manufacturing technology development.

“We are delighted to partner with Rolls-Royce,” James H. Aylor, dean of the U.Va. School of Engineering and Applied Science, said. “This partnership has enabled us to build on existing strengths in the school that are critical to our nation and the world through new faculty hires, sponsored research, fellowships, internships and creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Lab.”

The University Technology Center will focus on fundamental research that can feed into U.Va.’s applied research activities in the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing. “This supports creation of a pipeline that will accelerate the evolution of new ideas from concept to commercialization,” Aylor said.

Wednesday’s events at U.Va. include a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the MEC Advanced Manufacturing Lab at 11:45 a.m.; a poster session featuring faculty and student research supported by Rolls-Royce from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. in Rice Hall Davis Commons; and Maurice’s lecture, “Challenges and Opportunities: Addressing Aviation Environmental Impacts,” from 4 to 5 p.m. in Rice Hall Auditorium.

Aviation has a strong impact on community noise, air quality, water quality, energy usage and climate change, all of which are important policy concerns. The U.S. supports a comprehensive policy to addressing the environmental impacts of aviation through encouragement of aircraft technology development, operational improvements, development and deployment of sustainable alternative fuels, aircraft and engine standards and other standards and market measures.

The Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization, held in September, considered efforts by that organization and member states to address the impact of aviation on climate. Maurice’s lecture will discuss these efforts, the cost/benefit and economic implications of various solutions and the implications of decisions taken on environmental issues at the September meeting.

The Rolls-Royce Distinguished Lecture Series is held once a year at a U.S. institution with which the company is engaged in a strategic partnership. Last year’s Rolls-Royce Lecture Series was held at Purdue University.

The lecture will be followed by a reception in Rice Hall Davis Commons. The events are free and open to the public.

Media Contact

Josie Pipkin

Director of Communications, School of Engineering and Applied Science