The Lloyd's Register Foundation has signed a heads of agreement with TWI to provide £15m research funding to establish the new National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) nearing completion at TWI in Cambridge. The Foundation will become a Founder Sponsor and Board member of the newly-established Structural Integrity Research Foundation (SIRF), responsible for industrial support of NSIRC. The Lloyd's Register Foundation and TWI are now finalising the full contractual terms.
The collaboration between the Lloyd's Register Foundation and TWI, through SIRF, will work over the next ten years to inspire and engage the next generation of marine and energy engineers by providing fundamental science and industry-driven research opportunities aligned with a postgraduate education programme.
As a Founder Sponsor of the SIRF initiative, the Lloyd's Register Foundation's funding will create up to 83 PhD and EngD studentships. The research will support the Lloyd's Register Foundation's charitable aims by focusing on improving the safety of the critical infrastructure that modern society relies on, particularly in the energy, marine and transportation sectors.
Research undertaken by the Lloyd's Register Foundation students into different areas of structural integrity and new areas of technology will progress as recognised postgraduate degree qualifications through NSIRC's established relationships with leading universities in the UK and overseas.
A number of Lloyd's Register group companies are already Industrial Members of TWI, and through the investment the Lloyd's Register Foundation will strengthen links with the world-class pool of engineering knowledge and knowhow. It will contribute to the direction of SIRF activities, including the unique education hub of NSIRC with its purpose-built facilities and equipment.
Prof Richard Clegg, Managing Director of the Lloyd's Register Foundation, said, 'Our vision is to be known worldwide as a leading supporter of engineering-related research, training and education. This funding agreement is a significant step in the delivery of our new funding strategy and provides a model for future investments. We want to focus on long-term grants with targeted institutions that deliver both impact and excellence.
The Lloyd's Register Foundation's strategy for 2014-2020 focuses funding on four strategic themes: Promoting safety and public understanding of risk; advancing skills and education; supporting excellent scientific research; and accelerating the application of research. Four research themes have been prioritised: structural integrity and systems performance; resilience engineering; human and social factors; and emergent technologies.
Christoph Wiesner, Chief Executive at TWI, added, 'We are delighted to be working with the Lloyd's Register Foundation in this venture and are confident that strong industry partnerships are key to effective education programmes. The collaboration will promote greater understanding of future technical needs as well as safer, and increasingly efficient, practice in the field of structural engineering.'
SIRF has won public support from the Government's Regional Growth Fund and the Higher Educational Funding Council for England, with lead academic partner Brunel University, to set up and equip the new facility for NSIRC. The Lloyd's Register Foundation joins oil and gas exploration and production organisation BP in providing industrial funding for the new venture.
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