WICHITA, Kansas — Airbus Americas announced plans Tuesday to relocate its engineering center to Wichita State University's Innovation Campus.
Airbus will bring its 400 employees from its downtown Wichita facility to a new building on campus that is slated for completion in January 2017.
The university's Innovation Campus concept began to take shape in January 2014, as it formed the Wichita State Innovation Alliance Inc. to work with companies, investors and governments to develop a 120-acre portion of campus that was previously home to a golf course. Airbus will be the largest company in the campus.
"Basic research will always be a hallmark of this university, it always will be — but that is not enough," Wichita State University President John Bardo said.
It typically takes 20-30 years for a published basic research paper to have any impact beyond the publication, he noted.
"We need to be able to turn and turn things faster," he said. "So what we are doing as a university is focusing increased attention on applied research and development."
The partnership with Airbus will increase the quality of education for students and increase the impact of the university, he said.
Relocating to the Wichita State University campus concept gives the company access to the next generation of engineers, Airbus Americas President Barry Eccleston. The university's Innovation Campus fits in with the company's aims to boost its competitiveness and prepare for the future, he said, adding, "We like what is proposed here."
The company's presence on campus will allow them easy access to the university's research and testing laboratories, faculty expertise and student employees, the university said.
"This is a great progression of growth and development of this continuing to be the aviation capital of the world — Wichita and south central Kansas — was in the past, is now, will be in the future," Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said. "But it is always a business you got to keep innovating, you got to keep changing, you got to keep adapting."