Development & Alumni Relations Office 


01 November 2016

A new engineering research facility at Queen's University is to be named after the Wrightbus founder William Wright. The William Wright Technology Centre will be based in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

The new centre at Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has been 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 emissions that are harmful to the environment.

The project is a joint venture between the Wrights Group, which has currently invested £300,000 in the centre – a figure which is also being matched by Queen’s University – and an upward potential investment figure of more than £6m.  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 Queen’s campus and is scheduled to open next summer. A team of seven employees is already working on a range of research projects including drive cycle modelling, thermal modelling, and vibration related fatigue and lifecycle analysis.

Welcoming the announcement the Economy Minister Simon Hamilton, MLA said: “Wrightbus has a proven track record in innovation and creativity and is a familiar sight on the streets across the world. Queen’s University has a commitment to excellence in research and innovation and making a positive global impact. I commend this venture, which will build on and further promote our history of innovation and entrepreneurship and assist in transforming our economy.”

Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston, said: “We are delighted and honoured to name our technology centre after Dr Wright, a well-respected figure in the Northern Ireland business community and the global bus industry. Queen’s partnership with Wrightbus is one of our longest standing industry collaborations. Together we are leading the way in the development of some of the world’s most advanced hybrid engines.

“The new William Wright Technology Centre will ensure continued development of even better and cleaner environmental technology for advanced passenger transport in the UK and around the world. It will also give our students the opportunity to work closely with Wrightbus to develop their technical, research and employability skills.”

Dr William Wright CBE, who founded the original company with his father in 1946 and in 2017 will celebrate his 90th birthday, said: “We have a long established relationship with Queen’s 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 Queen’s 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.”

For further information, please contact Claire Kelly, Queen’s University Communications Manager 028 9097 5391.


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