Cardiff University was formally established by Royal charter in 1884 and is recognised in independent UK government assessments as one of Britain's leading teaching and research-intensive universities. Its world-leading research was ranked 5th amongst UK universities in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) for quality and 2nd for impact. The University is the acknowledged leader of higher education in Wales. It is the Principality’s only member of the Russell Group of research-led universities and has two Nobel Laureates on its staff. It has approximately 20,000 undergraduates, 8,000 postgraduate students, 6,000 staff and an annual turnover of around €525M. In terms of income, Cardiff had research grant income of €145M in 2013/14, a European portfolio in excess of 150 FP7 projects with a value of €70M, and 26 Horizon 2020 projects to date with a value of €16M. The University comprises 3 Colleges, each with a number of Academic Schools. The College of Physical Sciences & Engineering is where the University’s space activities are concentrated in two of its Schools: the School of Physics and Astronomy, which includes the Astronomy Instrumentation Group (AIG); and the School of Engineering, which includes the Gas Turbine Research Centre (GTRC).
The AIG has excellent facilities, potentially available to external users. AIG has significant experience of collaboration with industry and research institutions in the UK and abroad, and is very happy to work with external customers subject to resource availability and standard commercial arrangements. AIG is recognised as a World-class provider of IR and FIR/Submm instrumentation for space.
The Group is planning to upgrade its thermal infrared array cryogenic test facility to run from a cryogen-free cooler, and add the capability for precision characterisation of individual pixel response using a cryogenic spot-projector system and 3-D nano-positioning system, to position itself well for upcoming mission opportunities such as ARIEL. This would be an upgrade to a general-user calibration facility available to the community.
The GTRC provides an exemplar of an off-site university-industry Science and Innovation Centre, delivering circa £1M of contracts per annum. Since its launch in October 2007, the GTRC has a proven track record of delivering research and commercial projects on time and on budget e.g. £150k European Union FP5 project AFTUR, €2.0m SAMPLE I, II, III.1-5 projects for European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), €2.0m DG MOVE on Aerospace, TATA combustion training courses, £1.8m Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI) from the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), various EPSRC grants and contracts with Rolls-Royce, Ricardo and the HSE.