A NEW partnership between leading universities is set to bring a wealth of pioneering research to East Lancashire.

Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire have teamed up with the world-renowned Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at Sheffield University.

And with the AMRC on course to open a £25m purpose-built facility at Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone in 2021, the region is set to become a hub for innovation.

Projects such as Juno, the world's first graphene-skinned plane, launched last August, are being developed by the joint team.

And it is expected the Samlesbury centre will be a mecca for aerospace, automotive and low carbon energy research work.

Michael Ahearn, Uclan's chief operating officer, said: "This is an important and significant partnership for Lancashire and the North West, which will ensure the region is an attractive destination for inward investment and the creation of new businesses, in addition to providing the highest level of support for existing engineering and manufacturing companies.

"It also means the area will be home to some of the best learning and applied research facilities in the world."

Prof Keith Ridgway, executive dean of the AMRC, said: "We share Lancashire and the North West’s ambition to become a central player in a fast growing, dynamic Northern Powerhouse economy that harnesses the translational research experience of the AMRC and its partners to create high-value added jobs and improve productivity across a region critical to the success of the north."

Currently the AMRC's base is at Uclan's Heatley House campus in Preston, ahead of the Samlesbury switch.