Technology centre named after Dr William Wright

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Long-standing relationship between Queens University and Wright Group continues, with potential for substantial future investment

A new tech centre has been named after one of the founders of Wrights Group at The Queens University of Belfast.

Called the William Wright Technology Centre, the news comes as the manufacturer celebrates its 70th anniversary year.

The new facility was named after Dr William Wright CBE not only in recognition of his contribution to industry in Northern Ireland, but also his relentless drive in the promotion and development of new innovation and technology to reduce fossil fuel usage and harmful emissions.

The project is a joint venture between the Wrights Group and the university, both of which have invested £300,000 in the centre. An upward potential investment figure of more than £6m is in place.

The key aim of the centre is to promote research and advanced engineering to facilitate the creation and development of technologies suitable for today’s bus industry, particularly as these needs become increasingly complex.

Currently housed in temporary accommodation, a new permanent premises for the centre has been identified within the Queens University campus and is scheduled to open in Summer 2017.
A team of seven employees is already working on a range of research projects, including drive cycle modelling, thermal modelling, vibration related fatigue and lifecycle analysis, including topics such as cost of manufacturing, maintenance and operation. Future steering and suspension based research and development are also covered.

Dr William Wright CBE founded the original company with his father in 1946 and in 2017 will celebrate his 90th birthday. He also heads up the alternative driveline division at Wrightbus.
He said: “We have a long established relationship with Queens University and are pleased to be involved in the further expansion of the technology centre.

“This is a new and exciting facility that will continue to stimulate fresh thinking and encourage innovation.

“At Wrightbus we believe our ‘special relationship’ with Queens University sets us apart from many other manufacturers within our industry.

“This is important work that helps us to not only attract and nurture the best engineering talent, it will also lead to the identification of cutting edge projects that will ultimately become viable commercial developments. This applies not only for the bus sector but also for the wider transport industry.”

Mark Price, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty for Engineering at Queens University, commented: “We are both delighted and honoured to name our technology centre after Dr Wright, who is not only a well-respected figure in the Northern Ireland business community, but also in the worldwide bus industry.

“Our relationship with Wrightbus is not an everyday arrangement for the sector and we believe that both sides benefit from the principle of industry and academia working together.
“In particular, it provides a number of advantages for students to gain industry led research experience and in many cases, results in real job opportunities for them, in a global leading engineering company.”