Newtownards Engineering Firm Wins Major UK Research Grant


A local engineering firm has secured major funding under a UK-wide aerospace initiative, to carry out focused research and development into innovative aircraft components of the future.

CCP Gransden, based in Newtownards, has been offered nearly £100,000, under the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP), through Invest Northern Ireland’s Grant for R&D, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. NATEP is designed specifically to encourage SMEs to develop new technologies, and help them win new business. NATEP is one of the initiatives to come out of the Aerospace Growth Partnership, a joint Government and Industry alliance, with over 100 new product and manufacturing technologies being created in the supply chain all over the UK due to NATEP funding.

CCP Gransden specialises in composite technologies and thermoplastics, and currently designs, engineers and manufactures equipment for the pharmaceutical, chemical, agri-food industries, as well as for aerospace clients. The research project, which will last 18 months, will focus on the use of thermoplastic materials for the aerospace industry with a view to reducing processing time; making parts lighter in weight; and making parts easier to install and repair.

Through its participation in Belfast’s advanced composites and engineering research centre, NIACE, CCP Gransden developed its application and subsequent presentation, demonstrating successfully that the proposed research would make a significant contribution to the aerospace industry. Bombardier, a key founder of NIACE and an active supporter of the local supply chain, also supported the application.

Jim Erskine, MD of CCP Gransden said, “We went through a very rigorous process in order to secure the funding, which included involvement by major aerospace companies in the UK, all of whom strongly back the NATEP scheme. We are indebted to Invest NI, the NIACE Centre, Bombardier and other local aerospace companies for their assistance and support. We’re all looking forward to getting the project underway.”

Kevin McCann, Invest NI’s Director of Research and Development said: “This NATEP research project is a significant and strategic investment by CCP Gransden which has the potential to contribute to our growing aerospace sector. Industry experts in Bombardier along with the universities, through NIACE, will help the company explore the latest thinking on composite material processing.

“The knowledge and expertise gained through this research project will help the company build relationships with other aerospace companies and position CCP Gransden competitively to maximise future business opportunities.”

Gavin Campbell, Director, Engineering and Technology Development, Bombardier Belfast, said, “I congratulate CCP Gransden on winning this research grant, and would encourage other local companies to take advantage of the opportunity the NATEP scheme offers. Focused investment in research and development can help stimulate productivity and ultimately drive economic growth – key objectives of the Aerospace Growth Partnership.”

Dr Scott King, General Manager, NIACE said, “CCP Gransden has been a very proactive participant in NIACE, fully embracing our ethos of collaboration and knowledge exchange with like-minded organisations. I am especially delighted its involvement in the centre and the collaboration with other participants has been a contributing factor in its being successful in its application for funding.”

Once the research gets under way, CCP Gransden will continue to be supported by NATEP experts who represent leading aerospace companies such as Airbus, Bombardier, Rolls-Royce, GKN and others, who advise on project design, help if problems arise, and also suggest routes to market.

Invest NI’s support of £94,585 is part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.