Named after Dr William Wright CBE, the centre is part of Queen’s University’s school of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and is a joint venture between the university and bus manufacturer the Wrights Group.
Each partner has invested £300,000 in the facility; the potential investment could top £6 million.
The centre aims to promote research and advanced engineering for the bus industry and, within five years, will have 30 full-time research PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, supported by academic experts within Queens.
Current projects include drive cycle modelling, thermal modelling, vibration related fatigue and lifecycle analysis, looking at cost of manufacturing, maintenance and operation. Future steering and suspension based research and development are also covered.
Mark Nodder OBE, chairman and CEO of Wrights Group, said: “The centre’s important work helps us to not only attract and nurture the best engineering talent, its cutting-edge research will also lead to the identification of projects that will ultimately become viable commercial developments.”
TfL commissioner Mike Brown said: “Wrights Group and Queen’s University Belfast have been collaborating on individual research projects for over 20 years, helping to drive forward innovation and supporting young engineers. It was an honour to officially visit the Centre and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this partnership will make on the industry through ground-breaking research.”
Brown is pictured (front left) with (L-R): Claire McAlinden, director of EPS, Queen’s University Belfast; Dr William Wright, Wrights Group; Mr Ian Paisley MP for North Antrim. Back row (L-R): Mark Nodder, Wrights Group; Professor Roy Douglas, W-Tech director and board member, Queen’s University Belfast