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TWI Innovation Network approach stimulates international R&D

Thu, 06 August, 2020

The TWI Innovation Network (TWIIN), part of international research and technology organisation (RTO) TWI Ltd, whose headquarters are in Cambridge, UK is set to expand its global outreach in the coming months with the aim of sharing its open innovation platform for collaborative research and development (R&D) with a wider, engineering-based audience.

Designed to connect like-minded companies and organisations, who might not otherwise have an occasion to come together, the objectives include creating access to new commercial opportunities, finding ways to address hard-to-tackle technology challenges and facilitating knowledge transfer to up skill both business and personnel.

Central to this global approach to R&D are TWI’s overseas subsidiaries which were set up in response to meet market demand and operate successfully in different countries and regions around the world.  With a split between providing engineering-based services and support to TWI Industrial Members, and training engineers in field-based certification, TWI subsidiary companies outside the UK are currently located in Europe, North America, Asia and the Pacific, India and the Middle East.  Training services are delivered across 15 sites to over 15,000 trainees annually.  Engineering services are based on asset integrity management and include risk assessment, inspection, monitoring and testing, fitness-for-service and remnant life assessment, mitigation, intervention and repair as well as bespoke TWI software, RiskWISE® for asset management.

The presence of TWI in overseas locations provides a route through which UK companies, including SMEs, can expand confidently into new territories, with peace of mind that the TWI Innovation Network brings tried and tested methods for facilitating collaboration at an international level between overseas and UK-based companies and organisations.

Similarly, for businesses based outside the UK located in a country or region where there is a TWI subsidiary company operating, there is potential to capture greater market share, and expand the market for their products and services to other countries, via collaboration with TWI, both at the local level and with the TWI Innovation Network in the UK.

TWIIN’s 13 Innovation Centres, are uniquely positioned to work with TWI’s overseas subsidiaries, and the companies and organisations in their respective regions.  Collectively, the Innovation Centres have delivered hundreds of competitively funded collaborative projects between them and developed a huge amount of expertise in creating new systems and solutions.  Technologies they are highly experienced in include advanced joining processes, additive manufacturing, advanced materials, net zero and low carbon technology, renewable energy systems, robotics and autonomous systems, digital manufacturing, fatigue and structural integrity, digital twin, industry 4.0., artificial intelligence and healthcare technologies.  As a result, they are able to straddle R&D projects across most major industries.

Tat-Hean Gan, TWI Director of Innovation and Skills and Head of the TWI Innovation Network said “The companies and organisations that perform best are those that use innovation management to continually evolve and expand their horizons.  However, this is not a quick fix and is particularly hard for a business to achieve on its own when operating conditions are challenging, new competitors might be emerging and/or markets are in flux.

“This is where the TWI Innovation Network (TWIIN) and TWI’s overseas subsidiaries can help, both in the UK and in international markets” he explained.  “By bringing together industrial and academic partners from companies including SMEs, RTOs and leading universities to work in collaboration, new R&D and project opportunities are opened up, and novel technologies can be developed that will enable businesses to become more robust in the future.”

Shervin Maleki, Director of Global Development for TWI explained “TWI’s global training and technical centres are very well established in their respective areas with a successful track record in deployment of conventional solutions as well as development and implementation of innovative approaches to industry challenges.  This has been achieved through their extensive reach and knowledge of the local market, acquired as a result of providing localised technical assistance and undertaking focused business development activity, and the support from TWI in the UK.

“Therefore, they form a value chain with TWIIN in bringing together like-minded partners who can mutually benefit from prospective collaboration, thereby enabling new product development to thrive and leading to expansion into new markets” Shervin added.

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