Rolls-Royce, The University of Virginia and Virginia Tech create research and technology center of excellence

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Reston, VA – Rolls-Royce has partnered with the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech to create the Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems (CCAPS), a virtual research and technology center of excellence. This unique, public-private partnership goes beyond previous research agreements to create a framework in which the partners will tackle the technology challenges of today and tomorrow.

The vision for CCAPS is to build on the existing strengths of the university partners to create a research center that will advance the boundaries of propulsion systems. Under the guidance of Rolls-Royce as a world-class power systems provider, CCAPS will explore break-through concepts for creating more efficient and effective propulsion solutions.

CCAPS is part of a higher education partnership that will create nine new, endowed professorships at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech in engineering and related disciplines. Additionally, the parties will work together to define and develop curriculum at each partner school. The program will undertake specific research agreed by the partners, who will also exchange technical experts. This multi-dimensional approach will allow the partners to research the technology issues facing them today and, through teaching and curriculum development, to lay the groundwork for the technology issues of tomorrow. Ultimately, such proactive collaboration will deliver significant improvements to the partners’ technical capabilities.

CCAPS will be funded jointly by the partners with support from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Phil Burkholder, Chief Operating Officer, Rolls-Royce North American Technologies Inc, and CCAPS Board member, said: “CCAPS represents the future of collaboration between industry and academia. It will play a central role in our global technology development strategy and will help make the Commonwealth of Virginia a world leader in technology innovation.”

"We are extremely pleased to work with Rolls-Royce, Virginia's Economic Development Partnership, and the University of Virginia on the development of a world-class research center in advanced propulsion. It is no small matter when one of the world's most successful and innovative companies brings a major engineering research center to the Commonwealth,” said Richard Benson, dean of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering.

"I speak for many Hokies in expressing our excitement at the opportunity to collaborate with Rolls-Royce and the University of Virginia at the forefront of research and education in aerospace propulsion systems, and I am grateful for the resources that the Commonwealth of Virginia has allocated for this endeavor. This partnership will have a substantial impact on engineering research and education in Virginia, and I believe the high quality of our academic programs will be of great benefit to this worldwide enterprise."

“I share the excitement and gratitude expressed by my colleague Dean Benson for our partnership and for the support of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are proud and enthusiastic about working through this center with Rolls-Royce and Virginia Tech on technology solutions that are of immediate importance to our society. This partnership will significantly enhance our academic programs and expand our research capabilities in ways that will have great impact on the UVA Engineering School, the University of Virginia and ultimately on the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said James H. Aylor, Dean of the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science.

  1. Rolls-Royce, a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, has established a strong position in global markets - civil aerospace, defense aerospace, marine and energy.
  2. With facilities in 50 countries, Rolls-Royce employs nearly 39,000 people worldwide and has businesses headquartered in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, Scandinavia, Singapore, India and Brazil. This global presence allows the Group to access long-term international growth opportunities with its technology, presence, partnerships and people.
  3. Rolls-Royce is currently developing a new aerospace manufacturing facility at Crosspointe in Prince George County, Virginia. At 1,000 acres, this new facility will be the largest Rolls-Royce site by area in North America, with ample space to accommodate suppliers' co-location in the future. It is also the first Rolls-Royce site built from-the-ground-up in the US.
  4. CCAPS will be governed by a Board of Directors composed of research and technology leaders from all partners. The first meeting of the CCAPS Governance Board took place on May 6, 2009. During this meeting, the Board formally agreed to a shared vision and mission for CCAPS and signed a Master Sponsored Research Agreement (MRSA) detailing the terms of collaboration. Though virtual, eventually CCAPS will be led by a full-time Director. The CCAPS Director role is currently being constructed by the CCAPS Board. Once the role is defined, the Board will start the process of identifying and assessing candidates.
  5. Rolls-Royce relies on its university research centers of excellence for strategic technical capability development. University partners offer specialized skills, cutting-edge perspectives, access to unique facilities and the opportunity to pursue additional outside funding support jointly.
  6. In 2008, Group sales were £9.1 billion (~$13.7 billion), of which 52 per cent came from services revenues. The firm and announced order book at the end of 2008 stood at £55.5 billion, of which aftermarket services represent 26.1 per cent, providing visibility of future levels of activity.

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