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Working with industry keeps Brunel at the cutting edge

Globally significant industry partnerships that place Brunel at the cutting edge of engineering innovation, new technology and research into sustainable energy have driven the university’s success in REF2014.

The Structural Integrity team from the Institute of Materials and Manufacturing will partner with internationally-renowned technology, engineering and research organisation TWI in establishing a new £60 million Cambridge-based National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC).

The centre, for which Brunel received £15m of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in 2012, is set to launch next year.

It will provide some of the best facilities for engineering and materials research in the world and 300 training places for Brunel’s postgraduate students.

Professor Savvas Tassou, Director of the Institute of Energy Futures at Brunel University London, is working with the UK’s food manufacturers, retailers and scientific and technical providers to establish the Centre for Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains.

Examining the complexities of energy use in society, the centre will establish the university as an expert in energy and food sustainability-related research.

Using compressed air to enable city buses to store energy used in braking has become a reliable technique for manufacturer Yuchai, which makes 80% of all China’s bus engines.

Since 2011, prototypes designed by Brunel’s Professor Hua Zhao and his team have been used successfully in Yulin City in China and Yuchai is now looking to extend the technology into all of its engines. UK trials started with industry partner PTech this year.

Professor Geoff Rodgers, who led the REF submission for Brunel, said: “Brunel University London has a strong tradition of building educational and research collaborations that exchange ideas between academia and industry and widen the impact of our work.

“The REF has rightly recognised our strengths in this area and I am looking forward to seeing the impact of this outstanding work take shape in the coming years.”

The REF, which assesses the quality of research at universities across the country, showed that the volume of world-leading and internationally excellent research being carried out at Brunel University London has increased by more than half in the past six years

It placed 61% of Brunel’s submitted work in the top two categories, compared to just 43% in its precursor, 2008’s Research Assessment Exercise.

The university was particularly strong in demonstrating the real-world impact of research, brought into the assessment for the first time, with two-thirds of its 78 submissions classified as world-leading or internationally excellent.

For examples of the impact case studies described, please follow the links below: