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Ford drives the next generation

27 January 2012


Ten of Cardiff University's most promising engineers and scientists are each set to receive a scholarship as part of a new £1 million Ford university scholarship programme, designed to encourage a new generation of UK scientists and celebrate 100 years of Ford's commitment to the UK.

Ford has allocated £100,000 to Cardiff University to fund scholarships of £10,000 for each of the ten students.

The Ford Blue Oval Scholarship Programme is a new programme offering sponsorship, over three years, to undergraduates from a selection of engineering, science, manufacturing and technology courses at the UK's leading universities.

Announced by William Clay Ford, great-grandson of Henry Ford and executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, the scholarship programme recognises the skills fundamental to Ford's future industrial base, the rebalancing of the UK economy and long-term economic success.

Ford of Britain is celebrating 100 years as both a leading marketing and sales operation in the UK, reinforcing its relationship with a country which has made it the market leader in car sales for 35 consecutive years and commercial vehicle sales leader for 46 years.

Professor Derek Jones, Cardiff University's Director of Business and Strategic Partnerships said: "Cardiff University is delighted to be selected by Ford as one of a small number of UK universities to receive these prestigious new scholarships.

"The Scholarship Programme shows great vision by Ford. It will provide ten Cardiff students in a variety of subjects from engineering, science, manufacturing technology, environmental technology, materials technology, applied mathematics and computer science with essential financial support towards their studies.

"These scholarships will help encourage a new generation of engineers, scientists and innovators and confirms Cardiff's reputation as one of the UK's leading universities for innovation - and for putting academic excellence into economic practice."

The new scholarships will build on existing partnerships and research collaborations between the University and Ford's high-tech engine plant in Bridgend.

Business Minister Edwina Hart welcomed the news and congratulated the University.

She said: "Cardiff University is to be congratulated for being selected as one of only a dozen universities across the UK for these prestigious scholarships, which provide a vital bridge for graduates between academia and employment. This Programme also strengthens the excellent links that already exist between Wales and Ford Motor Company.

"The Welsh Government is particularly keen to increase the number of graduates taking up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects and this scholarship programme will help achieve that aim and attract outstanding graduates to study in Wales."

One area of particular strength has been the development of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) between the University and Ford. KTP's are designed to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills.

By signing a KTP a business gains access to University expertise through employing graduates to work on projects under the joint supervision of company and academic staff for up to three years.

The latest KTP sees experts from Cardiff School of Engineering working alongside Ford to overcome engineering challenges within the manufacturing process.

At present, if a barcode on an individual engine component cannot be scanned then the part has to be sent back through the supply chain to the part manufacturer (often outside the UK) – delaying production and costing money. The new KTP is exploring the possibility of applying new visual inspection techniques to improve the processes across the plant.

The new awards add to Cardiff's growing portfolio of scholarships and bursaries for undergraduate students. The University itself is investing more than £4 million this year in scholarships and bursaries and is committed to ensuring that everyone who has the ability to study at Cardiff is able to do so whatever their financial circumstances. Last year, some 37% of Cardiff students received additional financial support from the University.

The ten scholarships are available for undergraduate students in the next academic year, 2012/2013. Further details will be available shortly.

In the UK, Ford directly employs over 15,000 people; many in highly skilled roles developing and building high-technology, fuel-efficient, low CO2 engines, but in total 100,000 jobs are supported through the Ford supplier chain and dealer network.

Ford's recently announced £1.5 billion investment in low-carbon engineering and manufacturing is helping to underpin the UK's manufacturing and export-based economic recovery.

Ford plants at Bridgend in South Wales and Dagenham in East London have the combined capacity to assemble two million engines annually so that one in three Ford vehicles globally can be powered by a UK-built engine.

Ford's Dunton Technical Centre in Essex is the global centre of excellence for diesel powertrain R&D and for European commercial vehicles.

The other universities selected to receive the Ford Blue Oval Scholarships are: Bath, Bradford, Brunel, East Anglia, Imperial College London, Loughborough, Nottingham, Southampton, Strathclyde, Surrey and Warwick.

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