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 technology research.

The three-year extension with the university’s Through-Life Engineering Services Centre (TES) will focus on exploiting areas of digital technology development. This will include artificial intelligence, digital twins and augmented reality.

Professor John Erkoyuncu, Head of the Centre for Digital Engineering and Manufacturing, TES, at Cranfield University, said: “For us, it is very important to work with companies like Babcock because we value the experience they share with students and also with developing our academic research. The benefits of collaboration between industry and academia can be substantial. 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.”

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.”

Babcock and Cranfield are also key players on Team Defence Information’s (TDI) Community of Practice Group for Digital Twins - a digital representation of a physical object.  The community includes Rolls-Royce, Atkins and BAE and KBR and other members. 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 illustrations to assist the design and development of digital twins.

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.”

Babcock is currently supporting a Cranfield University PhD into Digital Twins and contributing to the development of the new Master Level apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions, which will be launching in April 2022.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.