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2 December, 2018 - 23:53 By Kate Sweeney

Barclays backs new aviation technology hub at Cranfield

Barclays and Cranfield University have joined forces to establish the first Eagle Lab dedicated to aviation technology, or AvTech, based on the university’s campus in Bedfordshire.

From December, the co-working and innovation space – one of the first cross-industry collaborations to accelerate the development of AvTech – will open for ambitious entrepreneurs in industry to scale and grow. 

Residents will benefit from business advice and mentoring from Barclays experts and access to world-class specialists and facilities at Cranfield University.

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 to support startups and SMEs – particularly those with high-growth potential. Located at the heart of campus, the Lab will be tailored to the aerospace and aviation community, drawing on the University’s global research airport. 

Built on a former RAF base, Cranfield is one of only a few universities in the world to own and run its own airport, providing a unique facility that can further help startups and scale-ups as they develop and test their innovations.

The Lab will include over 60 desks laid out over two floors with a combination of private offices, meetings rooms, hot-desking and breakout spaces. The ground floor will be home to a fully-stocked Maker Space, a facility to support rapid prototyping and product development with features like 3D printing and specialised AvTech equipment – all supported by dedicated Eagle Labs staff.

The launch of the Cranfield Eagle Lab follows the creation in April this year of a new business unit at Barclays called Barclays UK (BUK) Ventures. 
BUK Ventures has an independent mandate to deliver new customer experiences at pace and scale – ultimately driving growth for communities, business and Barclays – and is responsible for growing the Eagle Lab network.

Jon Corbett, head of SME for Barclays in the South East Midlands and Cambridgeshire said: “New technology is rapidly transforming the aerospace and aviation industry and we want to ensure businesses across the region, large and small, can take advantage of and contribute to this huge opportunity.

“Ultimately, we hope this Lab will help to stimulate and accelerate not just the local economy, but the industry as a whole.”

Professor Tom Stephenson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Cranfield University, added: “We are delighted that Barclays is opening 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.”

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