Universities, Research and Technology

In addition to its own local presence, Boeing has an extensive network of industrial and academic partners and suppliers across the UK. Through these relationships, Boeing is helping to create and sustain thousands of high-grade, high value jobs in the British aerospace industry and wider economy. Boeing’s investment also stimulates new capital investment in the UK industrial base, which helps companies maintain their competitive edge.  Boeing is also taking part in a manufacturing dialogue with Parliamentarians, in association with Dods engagement, to promote mutual understanding about this issue.

Boeing works with a number of universities in the UK. They are a key feature of our work and each is focused on a different specific area of research. We value these relationships and they can provide Boeing with innovative new technologies and business concepts, education and training for Boeing employees as well as potential recruits.  Boeing is also a member of the Council for Industry and Higher Education and the National Centre for Universities and Business.

The University of Bristol is one of the United Kingdom’s leading universities, specializing in engineering and has partnerships with Boeing on a number of engineering programs which focus on aerospace, civil and mechanical developments, including unmanned aerial vehicles.

With the University of Cambridge we have an agreement to conduct a number of research projects in the field of highly networked systems. Cambridge is a recognized leader in IT research and this field is of particular interest to Boeing as it moves towards providing more integrated solutions to its customers.

With Cranfield University, Boeing is working on a variety of projects that reflect the University’s reputation and expertise in the areas of aviation, aeronautics and aircraft development. One is the design and production of a sub-scale demonstrator of a Blended Wing Body aircraft, with specifications provided by Boeing, by Cranfield’s wholly owned commercial subsidiary, Cranfield Aerospace Ltd. Boeing also helped start the Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) Centre at Cranfield. This consortium, modelled after the successful AMRC at the University of Sheffield (see below), will focus on technologies to revolutionize aircraft health monitoring, prognostics and use of acquired data to manage the system. Boeing employees also study at Cranfield University.

With the University of Nottingham in October 2011, Boeing launched a major new collaborative investment in carbon fibre recycling research involving Boeing Commercial Airplanes and The University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Engineering. In the past decade, researchers at Nottingham have developed ways to recycle carbon fibre composites and Boeing has collaborated with them since 2006. Boeing now plans to invest initially for three years, but with the intention to continue with a strategic research programme - an inclusive partnership in which Boeing will collaborate with Nottingham in all its composites recycling activities.

At the University of Sheffield, Boeing is working with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to develop advanced manufacturing technologies that will help reduce the cycle time and cost of producing aerospace products while improving their quality and performance. The AMRC has grown considerably since it was established and now has partners developing new manufacturing technologies that enhance the competitiveness of British industry across a broad spectrum of sectors – not only aerospace - but also marine, automotive, nuclear and medical.

Boeing works with the University of Southampton as one of the United Kingdom’s leading universities to specialize in engineering, as well as disciplines such as supply-chain management.

Boeing partnered with engineering companies including Rolls-Royce and Mettis Aerospace, the University of Strathclyde and the Scottish Executive to establish the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), located near Glasgow Airport. The AFRC is developing forming and forging technologies to support the design and manufacture of new products including components structures for airframes, aero engines, landing gear, power generation, cars, ships, medical devices and wind turbines. It aims to bridge the gap between academic research and industrial manufacturing processes.

Boeing is a member of the Welding Institute (TWI) and has bolstered our production processes with licenses from TWI, particularly in the area of friction stir joining.  Based on the original licenses, Boeing researchers have continued to develop friction stir joining processes specific to aerospace applications to enhance manufacturing processes and reduce production costs. TWI is an important partner and we work together on a host of projects on a transactional basis including close coordination on Linear Friction Welding of Titanium process development.

QinetiQ is the largest single research and development organization in the UK.  Privatized in 2005, QinetiQ continues to support the UK MoD.  QinetiQ operates from a host of sites in the UK and has recently established a US presence (QinetiQ North America) through acquisition. A long term leasing agreement, supported by EO&T, for use of the QinetiQ 5 metre wind tunnel has provided BCA and BDS programs unfettered access to a unique world-class testing capability.