Linking Industry and Academia Through Research

Several engineering academics have secured a place in the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Industrial Secondment scheme. The scheme will see them spending up to 12 months working onsite with an industrial partner, collaborating on a project with a direct industrial application.

Linking Industry and Academia Through Research

The secondment scheme provides a valuable opportunity to establish strategic partnerships between industry and academia based on collaborative research projects. It facilitates knowledge transfer and enables academics to gain first-hand experience of working in an industrial environment.

The benefits of the scheme also extend indirectly to the secondees’ students; as such experience in the world of industry is reflected in an improved quality of teaching, with more current industrial relevance.

Professor Ric Parker CBE FREng, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Research and Secondment Committee, says:

“The benefits of the Academy’s Industrial Secondment scheme extend well beyond the initial joint project. This initiative facilitates the establishment of long-term partnerships and collaborations between researchers in industry and academia; building lasting working relationships between the partners.” 

This year’s industrial secondees are:

Dr Siraj Ahmed Shaikh, Coventry University, seconded to MIRA Ltd
Dr Shaikh will collaborate with MIRA Ltd, a leading automotive engineering and development facility, to find a solution to the increasingly important issue of automotive cybersecurity. Dedicated software controls a variety of applications including sensing, control, navigation, diagnostics and passenger safety on modern automobiles, and Dr Shaikh will work on making these systems more resistant to cyber attacks.

Dr Rafic Ajaj, University of Southampton, seconded to Airbus Operations Limited
Dr Ajaj will spend his secondment with Airbus Operations Limited, working on advanced morphing wing design, developing the folding wingtip concept to turn it into a system that can be used in flight to reduce gust and manoeuvre loads on the wing. 

Dr Tao Chen, University of Surrey, seconded to Unilever UK Central Resources Limited
Dr Chen will apply his expertise to develop a model that can predict how chemicals are absorbed by the skin, which for the first time will incorporate the effect of features of the skin such as hair follicles. The results will be used to build a program that Unilever could use routinely when designing skin care products.

Dr Andrea Da Ronch, University of Southampton, seconded to Airbus Operations Limited
Dr Da Ronch will spend his time at Airbus working with teams to develop and prototype a rapid methodology for predicting the effects of the forces acting on wings and other airplane structures in flight (a procedure called aeroelastic loads assessment) using computational fluid dynamics. Such methods will help aircraft designers understand how aerodynamic changes impact on structural loads and weight implications, as part of a research plan to create more environmentally-friendly aircraft.

Dr Gillian Ragsdell, University of Loughborough, seconded to the Energy Technologies Institute
Dr Ragsdell will support the design of ETI’s knowledge management to ensure systems and processes are designed to enhance the dissemination and use of the knowledge, insights and innovation built up by the ETI over the last seven years across its technology programmes portfolio, and to provide sustainable access to its knowledge resources.

Rafael Mauricio Morales Viviescas, University of Leicester, seconded to AgustaWestland 
After previous successful collaborations with AgustaWestland on other projects, Dr Morales Vivescas will spend his secondment period working on an improved control system for a new generation of helicopter rotors.