Almost £2.4 million has been invested in a new joint research institution, the China–UK Institute of Innovative Quality Engineering and Smart Technology at Brunel University London.
The funding from China’s Sichuan Mingxin Investment Group (SMIG) will enable research, innovation and training in areas such as advanced sensors, data analytics, quality engineering and smart systems. These are essential activities for making engineering and manufacturing smarter, and developing innovative, smart solutions to achieve high quality products and sustainability.
The long-term collaboration between Chengdu-based SMIG and Brunel University London, supported by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), will result in worldwide research activity and benefits both for the UK and for China.
Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor and President of Brunel University London, welcomed a delegation from SMIG and Chengdu Hi-tech Zone and, together with NPL, they signed the agreements to establish I2QUEST and set up a programme of research.
“It’s an exciting collaboration,” Professor Buckingham remarked, “and one that will not only focus on applied research dictated by the needs of industry, but will also create an opportunity to train PhD students over the course of the agreement.”
The announcement is the latest in a series of new or strengthened collaborations between Brunel and industry – adding to the vital connections that the University say differentiate it in a wide range of areas, from engineering to design.
In May, Brunel announced a three-year, £7.5 million partnership driven by the Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST), Jaguar Land Rover and other partners.
The project’s aim is to perfect light, thin-walled aluminium die-cast parts for future Jaguar Land Rover vehicles, which could be used for shock absorption, chassis parts or door closures.
“By casting a vehicle that is lighter, you improve fuel efficiency, because they need less energy to propel them along to the road” said BCAST Director of Programmes, Eric Nyberg. “And better fuel consumption means cleaner air by pumping fewer polluting gases into the environment.”
The research venture is partly funded by the government and by project partners, with £3.7 million from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). The project is one of seven sharing a massive £62 million APC cash injection to make the UK a global leader in low-emissions technology. Put together, the APC says these projects will create or safeguard 2,370 UK jobs and help it save 50 million tonnes of CO2 by 2023.
Another new partnership was announced in July between Brunel, the Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, with the aim of revolutionising the way health and social care is delivered in the community.
Brunel and the two NHS Trusts will work together to launch the new Brunel Partners Academic Centre for Health Sciences – providing the perfect setting for researching and developing new methods of healthcare delivery, while training future generations of healthcare professionals who will be ready to succeed in the changing landscape.
Focusing on allied health, nursing, social care and medicine, the centre will support ambitious plans to educate the current and future health and care workforce, supporting the delivery of radically transformed integrated physical and mental health and care provision.
Professor Julia Buckingham commented: “The NHS is at a critical stage in its history, and universities like Brunel have a huge role to play in coming up with new ways of giving communities access to the best health and social care, encouraging and supporting healthy lifestyles, and training the workforce of the future to adopt new methods.
“This is an exciting partnership; bringing together Brunel’s reputation for academic and research excellence with the much-envied clinical experience of our two partner Trusts.”