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19 March 2012
A new University agreement with Ford UK focussing on operations at its Bridgend plant has been praised by Welsh Government Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology & Science, Edwina Hart AM.
The new Joint Working Agreement with Ford will see University experts from the Schools of Engineering, Computer Science and Informatics and others share their research capability, knowledge, and teaching expertise with the company to help improve, amongst other areas, production processes and cost reduction.
Speaking during a visit today (Monday 19th March) to the Ford plant at Bridgend, the Minister Edwina Hart AM said: "Ford Motor Company and Cardiff University are both highly respected in their fields in Wales and internationally.
"This new Joint Working Agreement is just the kind of partnership that I want to see between our universities and the anchor companies in Wales.
"Modern manufacturing is one of my top priorities and I am delighted that Ford will be working with Cardiff University to make their operations here even more successful."
The agreement was signed during a visit to Ford’s Engine Plant where the Minister was joined by Kieran Cahill, Ford Bridgend’s Plant Manager; University Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant, and the University’s Director of Business and Strategic Partnerships, Professor Derek Jones.
Professor Derek Jones said: "The overarching priority will be to identify projects which will best help to improve profitable operations and innovative, carbon efficient, manufacturing. Reducing energy costs will be an early priority.
"Collaboration and the sharing of knowledge will take place through a range of methods, including research and development projects, student scholarships and placements and staff exchanges and secondments."
Kieran Cahill, Ford Bridgend plant manager, said: "This agreement marks a new step in the fast-growing, dynamic relationship between Ford Bridgend and Cardiff University, and we are delighted to be working together."
The new agreement builds on the existing relationship with the University and its series of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), a Technology Strategy Board programme designed to support UK businesses improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance by accessing the knowledge and expertise available within UK Universities.
KTP in Wales is managed and part sponsored by the Welsh Government.
Paul Thomas of the University’s KTP Office said: "Our latest KTPs see experts from the Cardiff School of Engineering working alongside Ford management and engineers to overcome challenges within the manufacturing process.
"This fourth partnership enables Ford to access Cardiff University’s expertise by employing a graduate to work directly on the project under the joint supervision of Ford and academic staff for two years. The project sets out to help Ford improve its competitiveness and productivity, specifically targeting knowledge, technology and skills.
"I am delighted to help drive our strategic partnership forward with the very strong support from the senior management at Ford Bridgend."
In January, the University was also selected as one of the few UK universities to participate in the prestigious Ford Blue Oval Scholarship Programme.
The Scholarships offer the opportunity of sponsorship, over three years, to undergraduates from a selection of engineering, science, manufacturing and technology courses. Ford allocated £100,000 to the University to fund scholarships of £10,000 for each of ten students.
Professor Derek Jones added: "Cardiff University was really very pleased to be selected by Ford to receive these new scholarships.
"The scholarships will help encourage a new generation of engineers, scientists and innovators and, together with this new partnership agreement between Cardiff University and Ford, will help confirm Wales’s reputation as a leading area for modern manufacturing."
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