What we do
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AWE has successfully developed long-term relationships with a number of academic partners and these relationships remain vital to the delivery of our mission.
This on-going work continues to build our reputation as a leader in the fields of science, engineering and technology and provides exciting opportunities for building and sharing knowledge.
Our strategic alliances are with five main universities – University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Cranfield University, Imperial College London, and Heriot-Watt University. These partnerships continue to provide enhanced capability in plasma physics, hydrodynamics, materials science, engineering and manufacturing.
Scientists from AWE and at the Cavendish Laboratory have carried out vital experiments on explosives and energetic materials to develop an understanding of their mechanical safety. Other important collaborations have involved research into the properties of energetic materials and their behaviours under certain conditions, which has a direct benefit to our work in certifying the warhead.
The Institute of Shock Physics, centred on Imperial College and with hubs at University College London and Cranfield, represents a five year investment by AWE directly into UK academia. This includes a gas gun installation co-funded by AWE and Imperial College which gives scientists the opportunity to investigage how materials behave under extreme pressures and temperatures through highly precise impacts.
This work will help us develop more efficient methods of protecting critical components in support of our technical programme.
Our corporate technical outreach strategy has positioned us as a strategic partner with leading UK universities, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Science and Technology Facility Council (STFC).We also have strong links with around 50 other organisations, all of which contribute to the research and development associated with business-focused technical projects.
From this important work we are able to pursue contracts or activities, endorsed by AWE, that benefit both our company and the wider UK plc.
Ever since the inception of Orion, there has been a commitment to provide academic access to the laser facility to external users. It has been agreed that up to 15% (up to 6 weeks) of system time each year will be available to UK academics. This is subject to peer review of the experiment proposals and adherence to our procedures.
We also have strong links with around 50 other organisations, all of which contribute to the research and development associated with business-focused technical projects.
This scheme is an important element of our UK academic support. It offers Fellowships to world-renowned subject matter experts in scientific or engineering fields. The William Penney Fellowship Scheme directly supports the deterrence programme and is a great example of how we collaborate with UK universities to build and develop expertise.
Fellows appointed from academia have an opportunity to spend some time working at AWE. This gives them access to facilities and a platform for exchanging ideas and knowledge with our scientific and technical community. Most of the time they will work at a UK university that specialises in their field of research. As well as conducting research of importance to us, we support each fellow with appropriate opportunities to publish their work.