As the National Structural Research Centre (NSIRCT) and expanded TWI facilities reach their build completion dates in the first few months of this year, we are pleased to present an update of our work with our industrial and academic partners to advance research and innovation in structural integrity across all sectors.
NSIRC is the first major educational and R&D establishment in the UK dedicated to industry-led research in structural integrity. Launched to the public in 2013 by TWI and with the support and direction of the founding members of the Structural Integrity Research Foundation (SIRFT), NSIRC results from a national need to develop the knowledge, competency and expertise of the next generation of specialist engineers in line with technical research and innovation activities scoped by real industry programmes. TWI is partnered in this initiative by Brunel University and leading universities across the UK to offer high level academic, professional and vocational qualifications in structural integrity.
NSIRC will be central to allowing greater understanding of the industry challenges and economic opportunities in structural integrity as faced by the oil and gas, power, transport and construction sectors, as examples. Over the next ten years, the Centre will see 530 Masters and PhD students working with state-of-the-art equipment and accessing TWI knowhow to tackle industry defined studies.
This spring sees the official launch of NSIRC in engineering buildings enabled through SIRF's industry partnerships, NSIRC's academic links and funding from the UK Regional Growth Fund and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. TWI will host an Industrial Member Open Day in October 2015, following on from a summer event scheduled by the NSIRC team, its university partners and the postgraduates already pursuing work programmes, to prepare for the next intake of PhD students.
SIRF industrial sponsorship
With the early success of NSIRC, SIRF- the £150 million initiative led by TWI with founding members BP and The Lloyd's Register Foundation - is creating industry impact by enabling postgraduates enrolled at the Centre to develop their skills through focused strategic research. SIRF had its first board meeting in late 2014, attended by the three current founding sponsors.
SIRF founding members are analysing current and future industry needs, directing the body's technical focus, defining areas of study in structural integrity and current and future requirements for equipment, as well as tailoring work programmes for their sponsored PhD students. Fail-safe design, flaw evaluation, corrosion prevention and structural health monitoring are a few examples of disciplines critical to the future success of these and many other organisations. With over 30 PhD students already addressing academic and applied research needs at this early stage in the programme, SIRF will over the next ten years drive change and improved practice across many sectors.
Founding sponsors and board members are a key part of the development of the SIRF initiative, both in working closely with academia and making technology development decisions that will affect the objectives of the technical strategy of their own companies and benefit industry in the immediate and longer term safe operation of installed components and structures.
SIRF welcomes the interest of Industrial Member companies looking to develop a mutually beneficial partnership as a founder sponsor - you can watch our video here. Do contact us if you have any plans or ideas you would like to take further.