Strategic Partners - Rolls-Royce

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Neil Glover, Chief of Materials Research and Design at Rolls-Royce, talks about working with EPSRC.

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Neil Glover, Chief of Materials Research and Design – Rolls-Royce

My name is Neil Glover and I am the Chief of Materials R&D at Rolls-Royce, so I am responsible for our global materials and engineering research program, which delivers all the materials technologies for future aero engines. 


Our relationship with EPSRC goes back many years through sponsored research programmes in UK universities, but more recently particularly in the partnership that we have around our university technology centres and our Rolls-Royce EPSRC strategic partnership for structural metallic systems.


We have three main university research centres for materials science in the UK, which we have as Rolls-Royce UTCs, and they are based at Cambridge, Birmingham and Swansea universities, but we also work with a wide range of materials departments around the UK to bring in additional expertise that can complement the work that we do within those centres.


At Cambridge University we really focus on the physical metallurgy and alloy design.  At Birmingham our work is around materials behaviour and materials processing and at Swansea it is really all around advanced testing and the characterisation of materials performance.  So EPSRC is really central to that both as a facilitator and as a funder.  They provide the funding for both our post-doctoral researchers and our postgraduate research students and both are really important to us in terms of delivering our technology programme and in terms of the research students delivering through the training for the future generations of engineers that we need.


Many of our postgraduates will come on to join the company, but equally many of them will go onto our research base in the universities and in fact if you look around the company now and you look around the materials engineering groups, many of the people in senior positions in those groups       have come through that pipeline.


So for companies out there that might be thinking of how they can work with EPSRC and universities, I would say that they should definitely do it, that there is a huge benefit to be gained in terms of the intellectually ability they can bring to bare on their problems.  There is access to really high calibre scientists and equipment that they couldn’t otherwise provide solely within their company.  That ability to develop people and to bring them into your company with the knowledge and the specialist skills is equally as important as the technology itself.