The chairman of Barclays, John Mcfarlane, has officially opened the new aviation technology hub at Cranfield University which offers a space for budding entrepreneurs.
The hub is a partnership between Cranfield University and Barclays, establishing the first Eagle Lab dedicated to aviation technology, or ‘avtech’, based on the university’s campus.
The hub offers a co-working space for ambitious entrepreneurs to scale and grow, and features facilities to support rapid prototyping, product development and specialised avtech equipment.
The Eagle Lab is the first step in the university’s ambitious aviation, innovation and entrepreneurship project which will create unique specialist enterprise facilities and programmes at Cranfield University to support start-ups and SMEs, particularly those with high-growth potential.
Cranfield is one of the leading aerospace universities in the world and is home to the UK’s first digital air traffic control centre, which opened in December.
Professor Tom Stephenson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Cranfield University, said: “We are delighted that Barclays has opened an Eagle Lab on campus, marking the first step of our ambitious aviation, innovation and entrepreneurship project, an intensive support package for aerospace and aviation entrepreneurs.
“The Government has rightly identified the potential of SMEs to develop the industry’s technologies of the future and at Cranfield we are determined to do all we can to support businesses in the region help realise their ambitions.
“We are thrilled to welcome John back to Cranfield to open the Eagle Lab. He is one of our most notable alumni and was the inaugural recipient of the Cranfield School of Management Distinguished Alumnus Award.”
John McFarlane, chairman of Barclays and MBA alum of Cranfield University, said: “New technology is rapidly transforming the aerospace and aviation industry, and we want to ensure businesses across the South East Midlands, large and small, can take advantage of and contribute to this huge opportunity.
“That’s why we’re excited to open a Barclays Eagle Lab here at Cranfield University, helping entrepreneurs turn a clever idea into a thriving business by giving them access to world-class facilities and a network of potential clients, investors and mentors. Ultimately, we hope this lab will help to stimulate and accelerate not just the local economy, but the industry as a whole.”