Rolls-Royce and University showcase specialist technology lab

23 June 2023

Teams from Rolls-Royce visited the University of Derby’s Markeaton Street site last week to tour a specialist laboratory space used by the global leader in complex power and propulsion systems to develop and evaluate new technologies.

Representatives from the company viewed the new Rolls-Royce Technology Hub, where experts from the Rolls-Royce Central Technology Group have co-located with the University of Derby’s community of staff and students.

The facility is home to two key Rolls-Royce teams drawn from Central Technology and Repair Technology, each of which has a worldwide brief. The role of the Central Technology Department is to identify technologies which could be of use to any division of Rolls-Royce.

An exciting array of futuristic technologies are being developed and evaluated in the facility, some of which are the first of their kind in the world. They include robotics, metrology systems, electronics and sensor development, machine vision, spectrometry, and Internet of Things. The development of several tools in the lab has been co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency, under the Aerospace Technology Institute Programme, REINSTATE.

The event coincided with the University’s Engineering Degree Show, giving visitors the opportunity to see work produced by Rolls-Royce apprentices and other students at the University.

A group of people outside the entrance to the Rolls-Royce Technology Hub
Prof Stephan Reiff-Marganiec, Dr Louise Richards, Prof Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL (University of Derby), Mike Wingfield, Adam Jephson (Rolls-Royce), Prof Warren Manning (University of Derby)

Rolls-Royce and the University already work together on several world-class projects including the Nuclear Skills Academy at Infinity Park.

Dr Louise Richards, Deputy Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at the University, said:

“Our partnership with Rolls-Royce provides a range of mutual benefits. Rolls-Royce’s ground-breaking work in the Technology Hub provides opportunities for University staff and students to engage with and learn from innovation and research. We are also exploring ways to build on the success of our apprenticeships partnership to provide practical placement opportunities for our on-campus students.”

Mike Wingfield, Technology Hub Lead at Rolls-Royce, commented:

“Having access to the facilities at Markeaton Street has been a game-changer for us; it has enabled us to develop technologies we’d previously not been able to progress. We enjoy engaging with the staff and students at the University and hope to further involve many more students in our technology projects going forward. The ability to have this involvement with the University while still being local to two of our major sites is very valuable.”

The University’s site at Markeaton Street provides a base for academics, students and apprentices on its engineering, computing, and mathematics courses as well as the creative arts. The site features state-of-the-art STEM research and innovation facilities including hi-tech electronics laboratories and engineering workshops.

Find out more about the University of Derby’s Computing and Engineering courses.

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