His Majesty The King Charles III vis­it­ed the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge ear­li­er this week in his first pub­lic engage­ment fol­low­ing the Coro­na­tion, to the New Whit­tle Lab­o­ra­to­ry where he also met with staff and researchers, lead­ers from the avi­a­tion indus­try and senior gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The mis­sion of the £58 mil­lion facil­i­ty is to halve the time to devel­op key tech­nolo­gies to sup­port a sus­tain­able avi­a­tion indus­try. The New Lab will also host the Avi­a­tion Impact Accel­er­a­tor (AIA).

Along­side the ground-break­ing, senior fig­ures from gov­ern­ment and indus­try gath­ered for an inter­na­tion­al round­table as part of an ini­tia­tive led by Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty and MIT. This pre­sent­ed insights based on glob­al avi­a­tion sys­tems mod­el­ling capa­bil­i­ties the AIA has devel­oped.

The round­table dis­cus­sion, mod­er­at­ed by Dame Pol­ly Cour­tice, founder of the Cam­bridge Insti­tute for Sustin­abil­i­ty Lead­er­ship, was attend­ed by His Majesty The King, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Sec­re­tary of State for the Depart­ment for Ener­gy Secu­ri­ty and Net Zero, and George Free­man MP, Min­is­ter of State in the Depart­ment for Sci­ence, Inno­va­tion and Tech­nol­o­gy.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing organ­i­sa­tions in the round­table includ­ed the UK Aero­space Tech­nol­o­gy Insti­tute, the US Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion, US Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion, NASA, EU Clean Avi­a­tion Joint Under­tak­ing, Air­bus, Boe­ing, Rolls-Royce, and the Sus­tain­able Mar­kets Ini­tia­tive and oth­er rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the UK gov­ern­ment.

Pro­fes­sor Rob Miller, Direc­tor of the Whit­tle Lab­o­ra­to­ry, said: “The Lab is designed to work at the inter­sec­tion of cut­ting-edge sci­ence and emerg­ing engi­neer­ing appli­ca­tions, pro­vid­ing fast feed­back between the two, and dra­mat­i­cal­ly cut­ting the time to deliv­er zero-emis­sion tech­nolo­gies.”

Grant Shapps, the UK Government’s Ener­gy Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary, added: “The UK is lead­ing a rev­o­lu­tion in avi­a­tion, look­ing to new tech­nolo­gies to cut emis­sions. Hav­ing estab­lished the Jet Zero Coun­cil three years ago, this will fur­ther help the best minds from the fields of ener­gy and avi­a­tion with the lat­est inno­va­tions.”

Mark Harp­er, the UK Government’s Trans­port Sec­re­tary, con­tin­ued: “Hav­ing already invest­ed £165 mil­lion into the pro­duc­tion of sus­tain­able avi­a­tion fuels, this Gov­ern­ment is deter­mined to har­ness the eco­nom­ic ben­e­fits of fly­ing while sup­port­ing indus­try and acad­e­mia to cre­ate clean­er skies for the future.”

Grazia Vit­ta­di­ni, Chief Tech­nol­o­gy Offi­cer at Rolls-Royce, con­clud­ed: “The Whit­tle Lab­o­ra­to­ry and Rolls-Royce have worked togeth­er for 50 years, over which time the part­ner­ship has deliv­ered hun­dreds of tech­nolo­gies into Rolls-Royce prod­ucts.”