Exterior shot of Cranfield University campus

Universities, Research and Technology

Universities, Research and Technology

Boeing has an extensive network of industrial, higher educational and academic partners and suppliers across the UK. Through these relationships, we help to create and sustain thousands of high-grade, high value jobs in the British aerospace industry and wider economy.

Our university partnerships provide us with innovative new technologies and business concepts, education and training for our employees, as well as potential new employees. We are also a member of the Council for Industry and Higher Education.

University of Bristol

We partner with the University of Bristol on a number of engineering research programmes which focus on aerospace, civil and mechanical developments, including unmanned aerial vehicles. We support annual student and society events such as hackathons, careers workshops and networking opportunities.

University of Cambridge

Over two decades, we have collaborated with the University of Cambridge on a number of research projects, including:

  • Hybrid-electrification - in 2014, the university and Boeing worked together to develop a single-seater demonstrator which used up to 30% less fuel than a comparable plane with a petrol-only engine - and was able to recharge its batteries in flight.
  • De-icing wings and lightning strikes - Complex physics and mathematical modelling have been helping Boeing tackle some of these real-world operational challenges, including how to de-ice aircraft wings more sustainably, how to mitigate lightning strikes, and how to 3D print complex parts more effectively and accurately.
  • Planning and managing airline operations – University teams have been working with Boeing for many years to analyse and manage disruptions.

Read more about our 20-year partnership.

Universities, Research and Technology - Lady in office Boeing South Carolina's lightning lab where Boeing and the University of Cambridge create and test novel algorithms that simulate lightning effects on airplane parts.

Cranfield University

Boeing and Cranfield have been working together for over 25 years on a range of research and technology projects, including the development of new aircraft concepts and studies into passenger behaviour, cabin refurbishment and management processes. This includes the design and production of a sub-scale demonstrator of a Blended Wing Body aircraft.

We were a founder of the Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) Centre, a consortium focused on technologies to revolutionise aircraft health monitoring, prognostics and use of acquired data to manage the system. We also offer our employees learning and development opportunities at Cranfield University.

University of Sheffield

Boeing co-founded the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with the University in Sheffield in 2001, 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 in 2001 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.

In 2023, we announced a joint £80m government and industry investment to research and develop new aerospace manufacturing technologies at the AMRC, along with partners Spirit AeroSystem and Loop Technologies.

University of Southampton

We support various student-led research projects at that specialise in engineering and supply-chain management. In 2023 we provided funding for new simulators at the Boeing Flight Simulator Laboratory, which is used by undergraduate and postgraduate Aeronautics and Astronautics students. Undergraduate students use the lab during their first year where they have the opportunity to fly a variety of aircraft and experience directly how key aspects of an aircraft's design influence its handling qualities. They also are able to use the lab during their third-year individual projects and fourth-year group design projects.

The University of Southampton’s Boeing Flight Simulator Laboratory The University of Southampton’s Boeing Flight Simulator Laboratory

University of Strathclyde

We partnered with the University of Strathclyde and Scottish Government to establish the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), located near Glasgow Airport. The AFRC develops 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.

Read more about our partnership with the University of Strathclyde.

Research, Development and Testing

Boeing is a member of the Welding Institute (TWI) which has supported our research and development of metal manufacturing processes, including friction stir joining processes and additive manufacturing.

QinetiQ is the largest single research and development organisation in the UK, and extensively supports the MoD. A long-term leasing agreement, for use of the QinetiQ 5 metre wind tunnel, has provided commercial and defence programmes access to unique world-class testing capabilities.