Research Programmes

Aiding industry collaboration and dissemination of information through modelling and simulation and HPC, we actively participate in a number of advanced research programmes.


The COLIBRI project – Collaboration Across Business Boundaries – is a 11-partner consortium, led by Rolls Royce, to help reduce product development cost and time-to-market, two major challenges that need to be addressed in order to maintain the UK’s global competitiveness. 

The three-year, £18m COLIBRI project will capitalise on the expertise of each of the partner companies to improve design and automation by introducing machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) into the design process. This is expected to enhance model-based systems engineering, and develop design capabilities for engine architecture. It should also help to enable digital threads with better modelling techniques.

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Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) will bring together advanced engineering companies, digital technology pioneers and universities from across the West of England. 

DETI is a strategic programme of WECA, delivered by the National Composites Centre (NCC) in partnership with the Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS), Digital Catapult, the University of the West of England (UWE), the University of Bristol, and the University of Bath. Industry partners include Airbus, GKN Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, and CFMS, with in kind contributions from UWE, Digital Catapult and Siemens. DETI is funded by £5m from WECA, with co-investment from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and industry.


AI-Ahead is being led by Bristol-based Additive Manufacturing specialists, HiETA Technologies. It addresses the challenges associated with the current design process of compact heat exchanger (HX) manifolds using an Artificial Intelligence-based approach.

The project is part of the Innovate UK initiative to promote collaboration between the UK and Canada in the wake of Brexit.


TUCANA is a £37m project to develop lightweight vehicles and powertrain structures, providing greater efficiency for lightweight vehicles. Part of a 10-year programme to make the UK a world-leader in low carbon technology through the modern Industrial Strategy, research will develop world-leading cost effective, scalable carbon fibre composite solutions, with the view to boosting the performance of electric vehicles. The CO2 benefit of the project between 2023-2032, will be 4.5 million tonnes. Project Tucana will allow the true environmental credentials of electric vehicles to be realised by enabling wider adoption. It will deliver this step-change by addressing structural performance at a design, material and volume manufacturing-level which is currently unmet across the industry. The project brings together a consortium of world-leading academic and industry partners. Led by Jaguar Land Rover, other partners in the project are Expert Tooling & Automation Limited, Broetje-Automation UK Ltd, Toray International U.K. Limited, CFMS, CCP Gransden Ltd, and Magna Exteriors (Banbury) Limited.


ResiCAV is a ground-breaking programme that looks at how the mobility industry will detect, understand and respond to emerging cybersecurity threats in real-time. Combining cross-sector expertise, it will be delivered by a consortium led by leading engineering consultancy HORIBA MIRA, international security experts Thales and global telecommunications solutions provider BT, with further support from the University of Warwick, CFMS, Oxfordshire County Council, AESIN Techworks, plus the University of South Wales, the University of Bristol, Coventry University and the National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC). The ResiCAV consortium will help CAVs develop real-time responsiveness to cybersecurity threats. The consortium will set out the requirements and specifications for Vehicle Security Operations Centres (VSOCs) that support the monitoring demands of the forthcoming ISO/SAE 21434, plus extend the application of artificial intelligence and data visualisation techniques. It will also deliver the requirements for a UK road transport Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence to support the UK’s position of meeting the global challenge of automotive cybersecurity head on.

Aero Flux

CFMS has teamed up with Zenotech, Aircraft Research Association (ARA) and Bombardier to lead the development of a high-order computational fluid dynamics (CFD) technology for the aerospace industry. The £1.55 million Aero Flux project, which is part funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK, is a continuation of the successful Hyperflux++ project. It will enable the research and development of advanced high-order CFD methods, beyond baseline technologies currently used by the aerospace industry. The three-year project, which is being led by CFMS, will develop the capability for fluid-structure interaction, broadband acoustics, accelerated time-stepping, advanced high-order mesh generation and multi-disciplinary coupling. This will address the latest aerospace requirements with a greater level of accuracy.

Digitally Optimised Through-life Engineering Services (TES-Digital) 

Through Life Engineering Services (TES) is being led by Rolls-Royce UK and involves CFMS, BAE Systems and Bombardier Transportation with a consortium of leading universities, software platform providers and market disseminators as partners. CFMS will lead the deterioration (degradation) knowledge base creation and optimisation. CFMS has specialist expertise in Knowledge Management (KM) tools and techniques to produce Knowledge Management. CFMS will develop a new Knowledge Management service which will be key for any company applying TES principles. The project will enable CFMS to grow the highly technical skills required for KM, expanding the team and creating a new KM service for industry to use.

AIRLIFT Additive Manufacturing

CFMS is partnering with GKN Aerospace to deliver a £19 million AIRLIFT Additive Manufacturing (AM) programme. CFMS will be responsible in AIRLIFT for defining and developing the private cloud-based digital twin Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) platform and IT system, including interfaces to sensors on factory assets as part of the data acquisition system. As a digitalised process, AM generates the data necessary to produce a digital twin, and a digital model will be developed to mirror all stages in the AM process. The result will be a tool which can be used to predict and track the entire flow of the material and all activities required to deliver a consistent, high quality additive manufactured part.


APROCONE is a £19.2 million project led by Airbus to develop new methods for aircraft wing design by embracing opportunities offered by developments in information systems technologies. The Advanced Product Concept Analysis Environment (APROCONE) project, of which CFMS is a collaborative partner, along with Cranfield University, GKN Aerospace, MSC Software, Rolls-Royce and University of Cambridge, will develop new methods for aircraft wing design by harnessing the power of the latest computing technology. The project aims to develop a highly productive, collaborative design environment and associated methodologies that will mean wings can be designed more innovatively and quickly to meet future market and environmental needs. The project has been made possible thanks to joint industry and UK government investment under the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). The project will be led by a team from Airbus in Filton, Bristol, which is a global centre of excellence for wing design, development and testing. 

Future Engineering System (FES)

FES brings together CFMS, aerospace prime Rolls-Royce, leading global engineering and technology services company Siemens, systems integrator Sysemia and digital quality specialist eQ-Technologic with academic specialists from the Sheffield Advanced Computing Research Centre and Leeds University Socio-Technical Centre. The consortium will develop and demonstrate a prototype future engineering system infrastructure to fully integrate engineering data sources within the process lifecycle management (PLM) tool chain. Within the FES, the project will demonstrate the integration of raw data from CFD and FEA analyses via JT Open to Siemens PLM, with Uncertainty Quantification and Management (UQ&M) functions and automated agent-based quality control. This will be exercised against real industrial use cases from Rolls Royce and demonstrated within a prototype system at CFMS. 

Hyperflux + +

Hyperflux + + builds on the successful Innovate UK project “Hyperflux” - developing next generation Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technology for the civil, automotive, renewable and aerospace sectors using the cutting-edge high order flux reconstruction technique from Dr. Peter Vincent and his team at Imperial College. Hyperflux + + brings Bombardier, CFMS, Aircraft Research Association Ltd and Zenotech together to further develop the capability and address timely challenges in the aerodynamic modelling of undercarriages and nacelles. Included are localised transition modelling; better and more robust high order mesh generation and high fidelity acoustic source modelling. The capability will be available to all UK organisations via cloud access at the CFMS supercomputer, and will leverage the latest in many-core hardware for fast, efficient computation. Workflow integration to existing tool chains will be via support for most mesh formats, with automated upgrade to high-order elements.


While Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is used in a many engineering sectors, greater accuracy & efficiency are required before CFD can replace expensive physical prototypes for unsteady flows (including acoustics) and for resolving shed vortices and wakes. High-order flux reconstruction methods developed by Dr. Peter Vincent at Imperial College (IC) are a potential solution. IC will work with CFMS and Zenotech to create new software (using the latest in high-performance computing: conventional and many-core processors for speed and energy efficiency) for evaluation by Airbus, BAE Systems, EADS, Rolls-Royce, DSTL and the UK Aerodynamics Centre. Industrial primes will contribute benchmarking test cases. Via cloud access to its virtual engineering hub, CFMS will make the UK software available to other sectors (civil, automotive and renewable energy) and support its uptake with local specialists.

For Hyperflux test cases results and more information, visit Hyperflux page.

Simulated Wake Effects Platform for Turbines (SWEPT2)

The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) identifies wind turbine wake interaction modelling as one of the top five technologies to improve the efficiency of offshore wind farms. The use of general purpose Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software on normal hardware has been a limiting factor due to the computational effort and affordability of running simulations. The SWEPT2 project is focused on investigating the use of GPU-based CFD, a faster and more scalable alternative. This will provide the industry with an advanced toolset to design larger turbines and larger arrays of turbines and will improve the prediction of wind farm failure, which reduces financing cost and allows energy primes to cut carbon emissions, design better wind farm layouts and deliver cheaper environmentally friendly electricity.

Structural Enablers for Advanced Metallic Wing (STEAM)

The STEAM project is investigating technologies for both the short term and long term exploitation in advanced metallic wings. These include bi-metallic welded components, bonded metallic components, near-net shape fabrication of components and assembly technologies. This  project is a collaboration between industry and research organisations. Industrial partners include Airbus, Constellium, Magellan, BAe Systems, Testia and Airbus Group. Research organisations involved include CFMS, The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Cranfield University and Manchester University.

Enhanced Fidelity Transonic Wing (EFT)

Civil aircraft wing design faces a growing challenge to improve the fidelity of performance predictions. The drive towards high performance relies on a combination of small refinements. Even where step changes are sought, the success of a design can depend on the mitigation of complex aerodynamic risks. 1) Wing maximum lift (CLmax) is fundamental in determining aircraft low speed performance. An improvement of the CLmax estimation uncertainty to ±5 lift counts is targeted, requiring a step change in the physical understanding and the modelling approach. 2) The transonic drag rise characteristics of modern aircraft wings are becoming so carefully tuned, that highly precise predictions are vital to correctly capture fundamental design trades. An improvement in the confidence of exotic drag rise behaviour prediction to within 1% aircraft drag is targeted. 3) As wing designs move to more efficient and flexible structures an accurate knowledge of the wing shape in all conditions is a pre-requisite for the realisation of the above aims. The benefit of improved accuracy in wing aeroelastic assessment is expected to be of the order of 1% in aircraft drag. An increase in the use of theoretical methods for aerodynamic loads prediction throughout the aircraft envelope is sought to enable higher levels of structural and design optimisation. The overall objective is to significantly enhance the performance assessment fidelity of transonic wings, reducing risk and uncertainty in the aircraft design process, and thus enabling aircraft to be driven to higher performance standards.

Global Register for Energy Efficient Numerical Simulation (GREENS)

Engineering complex products (aircraft, buildings, wind turbines & motor vehicles) makes extensive use of high fidelity computer modelling. This requires power-hungry computer hardware and specialist software. A bewildering array of options is presented to the end user: hardware, software and algorithm selection – with their own measures of “performance”. Value chain stakeholders would benefit from a standard measure of energy efficiency (EE) – so that the devices, systems and software energy use can be measured and characterised. This informs user choices, and motivate component improvement with a specific value proposition. The GREENS project looked beyond the traditional focus of energy efficient computing – namely the power supply and hardware – to the algorithms being used and how they leveraged the hardware. By looking across different cases, and by using a variety of commercially available or open source solvers, the project participants identified the benefits that came with making adjustments to the algorithms and how those related to the hardware in question.

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