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University of Leicester Visits TWI for Research Away Day

Tue, 16 January, 2024

Research, development and innovation (RD&I) teams from long-term partners the University of Leicester, School of Engineering, and TWI came together recently for a ‘Research Away Day’ at TWI Cambridge, UK with the aim of strengthening their relationship further by exploring new ways to collaborate.

The University of Leicester is in the top 30 universities in the UK for its world-changing research, as referenced in the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s Research Excellence Framework. The University’s researchers are dedicated to addressing some of today’s most critical issues, from viruses and disease to air quality, preserving our natural world and ensuring social justice for all.

TWI provides materials, joining and integrity services to Industrial Members, and has an extensive track record in collaborative research and development (R&D), working with academia, TWI Innovation Network Subscriber companies and industry. Therefore, there is great synergy between the University of Leicester (UoL) and TWI, who in 2016 jointly established the Materials Innovation Centre (MatIC) to target materials characterisation and modelling, and novel materials development, including characterising the fundamental mechanisms that underlie cracking and defect formation during welding, casting and metal 3D printing.

The programme for the Research Away Day, which was opened by TWI’s Director of Research Paul Woollin, enabled a cross fertilisation of ideas, with both parties sharing their latest progress and thinking, in key areas of industry and technology. Presentations and discussions focused on:

  • Aerospace – Charlotte Blake, Sector Manager, TWI and Aldo Rona, Associate Professor, Fluid Dynamics and Turbomachinery, UoL
  • Biomedical engineering – Chris Otter, Sector Manager, TWI and Timothy Pearce, Reader in Bioengineering, UoL
  • Digital manufacturing – Darren Williams, Team Manager, Joining Technologies, TWI and Professor Csaba Sinka, UoL
  • Green energy technologies and systems – Ujjwal Bharadwaj, Technology Innovation Management Section Manager, TWI and Harold Ruiz, Associate Professor in Electrical Machines and Power Systems, UoL
  • Environmental performance of materials and welds – Michael Dodge, Team Manager, TWI and Bo Chen, Head of Mechanics of Materials Research Group, UoL

The 30+ guests from the University concluded their day with a tour of TWI’s extensive engineering laboratories.

Speaking about the day, Paul Woollin, Research Director at TWI said “TWI’s Members are particularly keen to access the latest technology to address the big engineering challenges of the day. These are maintaining resilient hydrocarbon supply to keep consumer costs down, whilst transitioning to a low carbon energy future, maintaining defence and exploring space. New materials, processing methods and digital technologies will be critical in addressing these issues, and MatIC is at the forefront of research into these fields.” Adding “The day reminded us all of the importance of meeting face-to-face, to allow us to make contacts and to find topics of mutual interest for future research. The next steps are to build on the relationships formed, to co-create concepts and to seek funding opportunities to turn the concepts into reality. It is an exciting time to be involved in engineering, and the day was an excellent opportunity to plan out how we might all contribute individually and collectively to addressing global challenges.”

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