The NCC is a £25 million investment supported by the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency), and the European Research Development Fund (ERDF). It is part of the UK's Composites Strategy, which was launched in November 2009.

Bristol was selected as the location for the NCC and the University of Bristol as owner and host of the Centre. The Bristol and Bath Science Park was identified as the specific site for the building in March 2010.

In June 2010, the five founding members – GKN Aerospace, Airbus, AgustaWestland, Rolls-Royce and Vestas – signed long-term partnerships with the NCC, and in the same month planning permission was granted.

Construction work on the site began in August 2010 and the building was finished in June. Also in June, Umeco plc joined the founding members.

The NCC is already operational and will be able to offer full capability by September. It will be formally opened and launched later in the year.