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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP has confirmed £4.8 million of funding for Spirit AeroSystems new open access Aerospace Innovation Centre at its manufacturing site in Prestwick.

Innovation within the new centre will focus on the development of the next generation of aircraft and help develop the technology for composite materials and automated assembly used in the industry, creating 40 high-value jobs and leverage significant capital investment in infrastructure and equipment.

Over the next decade, the facility will further enable growth for industry-leading aerospace technologies and innovations and has the potential to create more manufacturing jobs. The First Minister confirmed the funding as she visited the company’s manufacturing site. She said:

"Just before last year’s Programme for Government I visited Spirit AeroSystems to set out our ambition for Scotland to develop, design and manufacture the technologies and products of the future, backed by an extra £45 million for business research and development (R & D) over the next three years. This included £2.1 million funding for Spirit Aerosystems last year.

"R & D drives innovation and economic growth so it's great to be back here to see that additional support helping not just Spirit, but also companies across Scotland develop new products.

“This announcement underlines the importance of Prestwick as an aviation hub and as a key piece of Scotland’s industrial infrastructure, supporting jobs, investment and opportunity.”

Scott McLarty, Vice President UK & Malaysia, Spirit AeroSystems, added:

“The new innovation centre will allow us to scale up our technology demonstrators and enable growth in advanced composite technologies and automated assembly. The centre will operate on an open access basis creating an environment that fosters supply chain and academic collaborations. This will strengthen the ability of Spirit and our partners to secure work on the next generation of aircraft."

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise, said:

“The creation of the open access Aerospace Innovation Centre at Prestwick will help cement Scotland's position as a global centre of aerospace excellence. It is a truly transformational project that takes full advantage of the world-wide growth in aircraft manufacturing, has the potential to create a number of jobs in the Ayrshire and beyond, and enhances Scotland’s international reputation for nurturing and promoting innovation.”

Patricia Gibson MSP commented:

“Spirit AeroSystems is renowned for its innovation and commitment to R & D.

“This additional support from the SNP Government will help to ensure Ayrshire retains a competitive edge in this most dynamic of industries.”

The new grant will provide Spirit AeroSystems with state-of-the-art R&D facilities and also ensure access to other companies undertaking their own R&D, either independently or in collaboration with Spirit, while the Aerospace Innovation Centre will complement other recent investments or commitments in engineering and manufacture in Scotland. These include the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS), Lightweight Manufacturing Centre, Advanced Forming Research Centre including the recently announced phase 2, FutureForge.


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