A project that will harness world-leading expertise to develop the components of digital twins is one of nine business-led research partnerships to receive a share of over £75 million, as part of the government’s ambition to build back better and drive economic growth and job creation through innovation.
Announced by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, the partnerships will bring together expertise from some of the UK’s most prominent businesses and research institutions to develop innovations in support of the UK’s key priorities, such as tackling climate change.
Backed by a £75.2 million joint investment from government, business and academia, the business-led collaborations will draw on existing industry and research strengths in regions across the UK, from Teesside to Bristol, to create products and technologies that can drive economic growth and create highly skilled local jobs.
The government funding is being delivered through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is part of the flagship Prosperity Partnerships programme. It builds on the government’s commitment to raise economy-wide investment in research and development to 2.4% by 2027.
Kwarteng said: “As we build back better through innovation, we are putting the funding and structures in place so those at the top of their field – in business, research and academia – can develop world class products and technologies that could change all our lives for the better. The partnerships we are throwing our weight behind today all have innovation at their core.”
Innovations receiving funding include a partnership between EDF, University of Bristol, University of Manchester, Imperial College London and the Science and Technology Facilities Council which will harness world-leading expertise to develop the components of digital twins. The virtual models of physical entities – that can be used to assess the condition of components of energy generators such as nuclear power plants, and their need for maintenance or remedial work. This will help in the delivery and operation of major low-carbon energy generation buildings and will create seven new research roles and incorporate 18 PhD studentships.
Dr Ionel Nistor, Head of Nuclear R&D at EDF, said: “EDF is looking forward to starting work with our academic and industrial partners on this project which brings together a unique combination of expertise. SINDRI will develop digital tools to help the UK nuclear sector and other industries to reduce costs and ensure safety when designing, building and operating strategic assets.”