Universities minister Jo Johnson opens new multi-agency research hub

2 February 2017

Jo Johnson, minister of state for universities, science, research & innovation, officially opened the Cranfield University / NCAS Centre for Atmospheric & Emissions Research today.

Jo Johnson in front of the FAAM aircraft

The £3 million research hub - the result of joint investment from NERC, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and Cranfield - provides a collaborative space for advanced research, and will be home to Cranfield's Centre for Atmospheric Informatics & Emissions Technology (CAIET) and the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM). CAIET will research air quality, climate change and ozone depletion.

Universities & science minister, Jo Johnson, said:

Climate change and reducing emissions is one of the most important challenges of our time, and the UK takes a proud leadership role in fostering positive action. Greater knowledge and the development of new technologies is crucial to this. This investment is a prime example of the projects our industrial strategy will support - enabling UK scientists to carry out pioneering work that will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of climate change science and leads an international effort to improve the environment for future generations.

Jo Johnson talking to Professor Stephen Mobbs

Jo Johnson (centre) talks to the director of NCAS, Professor Stephen Mobbs

NERC investment has ensured this will be a centre of international excellence which will allow both Cranfield and FAAM to collaborate. NCAS involvement highlights the significance for the UK of atmospheric science, with Met Office scientists also based here. Cranfield University's airport is also home to FAAM's iconic atmospheric research aircraft.

NERC's chief executive, Professor Duncan Wingham, said:

This collaboration builds on NERC's existing investments in the national capability provided by NCAS and the unique airborne laboratory FAAM, aiming to advance our understanding of how emissions contribute to impacts on our planet and its inhabitants - be these air pollution, climate change or ozone depletion. I look forward to seeing this exciting endeavour develop in the years to come.

Sir Peter Gregson, chief executive and vice-chancellor of Cranfield, said:

The centre is the latest in a series of world-class facilities on campus, and is the result of multi-agency collaboration. The centre heralds a new era in climate and atmospheric understanding.

Further information

Mary Goodchild
News & media officer
01793 411939


1. NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public body. We receive around £330 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

2. Cranfield is an exclusively postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.