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UK and Thailand Universities Join NSIRC International

Wed, 17 May, 2023

Manchester Metropolitan University, who together with TWI established the new Advanced Materials and Digitalisation Innovation Centre in 2022, and Chulalongkorn University, Thailand have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TWI towards joining the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC)’s International Programme.

NSIRC is one of the four ‘pillars’ of the TWI Innovation Network (TWIIN) which enables engineering technologies research and development (R&D) through Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1-9 – starting at TRLs 1-3, with unique, industry based NSIRC PhDs for engineering leaders of the future, awarded by leading universities – through to fully-fledged, market-ready solutions developed via dedicated, TWI research programmes at TRLs 4-9.

The MoU will see the two universities and TWI work together to bring NSIRC PhD qualifications to postgraduates in Thailand. It outlines the parties' commitment to collaborating on engineering research and innovation projects, including knowledge transfer, with a focus on smart manufacturing, net zero technologies, advanced materials, structural integrity, non-destructive testing (NDT) and more.

Attending the signing ceremony on behalf of TWI and NSIRC, Heather Claxton, Associate Director of Research and Innovation Global Operations, TWI said "We are thrilled to sign this MoU with our new partners Manchester Metropolitan University and Chulalongkorn University, and through our shared vision, expand NSIRC’s unique and impactful education programme into Thailand. Together with parent organisation TWI, NSIRC has a mission to create leading engineering education that can benefit society globally. Therefore, by joining forces with Manchester Metropolitan University and Chulalongkorn University, we will all be in a better position to harness the potential of our respective knowledge and expertise, and combine it through industrial and academic research to drive meaningful innovation across fields from materials through to advance manufacturing and digitalisation.”

Professor Peter Kelly, Director of the Advanced Materials and Surface Engineering Research Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University, who also attended the ceremony, stated “We are delighted to have signed this MoU with TWI and Chulalongkorn University, marking a new era of collaboration and innovation. This partnership builds on our shared commitment to creating positive impact through world-class research, and we look forward to working closely together in pursuit of this goal.”

Attending the signing on behalf of Chulalongkorn University was Professor Anongnat Somwangthanaroj, Vice Dean who explained “Chulalongkorn University is proud to join forces with Manchester Metropolitan University and TWI in this exciting new collaboration. Our shared commitment to academic excellence and social responsibility makes us natural partners in pursuit of innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. We look forward to working together closely in the years to come.”

The ceremony marks the beginning of a long-term partnership that aims to combine the complementary strengths and expertise of each institution – to drive innovation and create real-world solutions that address global challenges – with their respective researchers benefitting from exposure to a diverse range of perspectives and approaches to technological development.

The NSIRC International Programme received funding from founding NSIRC UK partner, and global charity for engineering-focused academia, Lloyd's Register Foundation (LRF), who also provides ongoing industrial support and experience. LRF will assist the three partners with new PhD studentships that also match LRF’s priorities, which include at-sea assets, digital systems, sustainability, food supply systems and physical infrastructure.

Together, NSIRC and LRF have enrolled over 180 PhD students who have cumulatively produced more than 500 years of PhD research, all of which has been based on urgent technology challenges facing global industries. Thanks to the strong industry connections of TWI, and TWI Innovation Network and Industrial Members, in combination with the insights of LRF and their technology experts, future NSIRC Thailand students will be able to create research with impact across academia and industry.

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