NSIRC - a new industry-academic partnership
The National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) is a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI, working closely with Brunel University London. The Centre is affiliated with a further 16 universities, and has formed research partnerships with BP and The Lloyd’s Register Foundation. The NSIRC model provides the combination of academic excellence and industry knowledge required to address the need for fundamental research and relevant training for the next generation of engineers.
TWI has for many decades partnered with key universities to support PhD studentships, often basing students at its Cambridge headquarters. The establishment of NSIRC on site has developed further the nature of this relationship with academia; TWI supervises PhD students direct and houses researchers from NSIRC affiliate universities alongside students and industry partners. MSc students trained at NSIRC are currently managed and taught by Brunel University.
Over a ten-year period, NSIRC will provide postgraduate research opportunities for over 530 students. The industry-relevant project work the students undertake will advance fundamental research for the benefit of industry to, for example, support the safe operation of products and structures; develop innovative, fit-for-purpose technologies and design rules; and demonstrate solutions for long-term asset management.
NSIRC has been funded by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills through its Regional Growth Fund, The Higher Education Funding Council for England, and through SIRF (Structural Integrity Research Foundation) – a strategic research platform set up by TWI.
NSIRC’s first student Anna Wojdyła-Cieslak (above) began her PhD in May 2013. Her research focuses on new coatings and surface treatments. The project aims to help increase fuel efficiency in large structures such as aircraft, wind turbines and ships, by counteracting the negative effects of erosion, ice build-up or fouling from insects or marine organisms.
"I wanted to follow a postgraduate programme that would help me to stand out from others, to do something different, and studying in an industry environment doing real project work does exactly this."
Watch Anna describe her experience at NSIRC here.