Babcock commits to innovation research through renewed partnership with Cranfield University

Babcock International Group (Babcock), the aerospace, defence and security company, is renewing its partnership with Cranfield University as part of its ongoing commitment to invest in cutting-edge technology research.

The three-year extension is through Cranfield’s Through-Life Engineering Services Centre (TES) and will focus on exploiting areas of digital technology development including AI, Digital Twins and Augmented Reality. The collaboration also supports the existing work of wider industry defence groups such as Team Defence Information.

Jim Sibson, Babcock’s Head of Research and Partnerships, said:  “We’re delighted to be extending our partnership with Cranfield and one of the main benefits will be in how we deliver support in an increasingly complex engineering world, one where data volumes and digital technologies are increasing day by day.”

“This collaboration will enable us to continue delivering innovative support solutions for our customers, more efficiently and reduce costs in through-life support whilst improving asset availability.”

John Erkoyuncu, Director, Through-Life Engineering Services at Cranfield University, added: “For us, it is very important to work with companies like Babcock because we value the experience they can share with the students and also with developing our academic research. The benefits of collaborations between industry and academia can  be substantial for both. With Babcock we’re looking at emerging and existing technology areas and to have the real-world challenges to work with means our research is really being tested and put to good use.” 

Babcock and Cranfield are also key players on Team Defence Information’s (TDI) Community of Practice Group for Digital Twins, which includes members such as Rolls-Royce, Atkins and BAE and KBR. The group are responsible for developing a roadmap for digital twins in defence, linking into the National Digital Twin Programme. The group has delivered a series of knowledge sharing events and developed a range of vignettes to assist the design and development of digital twins.

Digital skills is another strand the partnership will continue to develop with Babcock currently supporting a Cranfield University PhD into Digital Twins. Babcock is also contributing to the development of the new Master Level apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions, which will be launching in April 2022. Jim added: “Investing in next generation skills – whether it’s a mechanical engineer, a data scientist or analyst, is vital for our future. Working together with Cranfield, we’re sponsoring a PhD in Digital Twin, specifically on the use of ontologies and standards for this type of technology and, just as importantly, how we apply this innovative research to the complex and critical assets we manage across our core markets.”