By Liz White, UT contributing editorLondon-The UK government’s Department of Trade and Industry has launched a £30-million ($57-million) network to support production of light materials that can be used to benefit industries such as automotive, aerospace and healthcare. The National Composites Network will operate regional centres specialising in particular areas of composites technology, “helping to create and secure thousands of high quality manaufacturing jobs,” said a DTI statement. “We are committed to making the DTI a champion of science, innovation and technology. Building on the DTI’s 5-year programme, we are funding the areas that will help British business win in the global knowledge economy,’ said UK Industry Minister Jacqui Smith. The £30-million boost to composites follows Trade and Industry Minister Patricia Hewitt’s launch of an £80-million fund for the latest innovative technologies, Smith added, in the DTI statement. The National Composites Network will:* Bring together industry experts in composites;* Share knowledge in composites across different industries and between companies; and* Help smaller companies source their research and development and access state of the art technology.The DTI is contributing £4.75 million, Regional Development Agencies are adding £14 million, and industry contributions will bring the total funding up to £30 million.The network will be run by GKN, the Motor Industries Research Association, the British Marine Federation, the Composites Processing Association, Airbus and TWI (formerly the Welding Institute). A dedicated telephone and web site is now in place: telephone 01223 894662, web site www.ncn-uk.co.uk, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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