The Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) at Cranfield was founded in 1998 and is hosted by the Centre for Propulsion and Thermal Power Engineering. The remit of the UTC aligns with the scope of the wider Rolls-Royce Engineering function and particularly with System Design. As the 'system-level' UTC, it supports the entire Rolls-Royce System Design organisation, thereby playing a unique role within the Rolls-Royce UTC network.

UTC research is typically supported by 20 Doctoral Candidates, 20-30 Thermal Power and Propulsion MSc candidates, 20 research staff and a number of senior academics at Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professorial Level. The UTC’s core competence is its ability to undertake detailed studies involving highly integrated aero-thermal, multi-disciplinary models, to improve understanding of power plant and sub-system design, integration and performance, in the context of the product’s life cycle and mission. Over the years, the UTC has engaged widely with Rolls-Royce and to date it encompasses projects in the broader areas of performance methods and operability, systems design and integration, engine environmental protection, thermal and fluid systems, novel cycle analysis, engine installation, future engine-aircraft integration, external and internal aerodynamics, structures, marine gas turbine cycles, optimisation, hybrid-electric and turbo-electric propulsion, boundary layer ingestion, turbomachinery, etc.

Recently the drive towards a more sustainable and ‘cleaner’ aviation has placed a strong focus on the aerodynamic integration of the power plant with the airframe and its performance analysis from a systems perspective. A lot of the pioneering work conducted within the UTC nowadays, lies in the investigation of new, advanced cycles for aero and marine applications for propulsion, power generation and/or thermal management. In some cases, this involves state-of-the-art test facilities with exotic working fluids such as supercritical CO2, and experimental rigs looking into the combustion of clean fuels such as H2.

We are delighted and privileged to be at the very forefront of future research and technology. Equally, the optimisation of today’s technology, through interdisciplinary performance modelling and a better understanding of the behaviour of various sub-systems throughout the operating envelope, lies at the very centre of our research portfolio.

The Director of the Rolls-Royce UTC at Cranfield is Prof Vassilios Pachidis, with Prof David MacManus acting as Deputy Director.