University of Birmingham New Partnership Creates Opportunities for Research and Development


The University of Birmingham has set up the Poynting Institute which aims to generate novel and innovative solutions to real world problems for both industry and government. The first partner is the high tech science, technology and engineering company, QinetiQ. The new institute aims to provide the infrastructure and facilities to bridge the gap between research and technology and will undertake solution targeted research in key areas of mutual interest which explore ideas and concepts with commercial and government relevance. Employees from QinetiQ are being seconded to the Institute to work with University scientists and engineers. The first two themes of research are space weather and autonomy.

Space weather can affect a number of high tech systems including wireless systems, power lines and satellites as well as, for example, the global positioning system (GPS). The Poynting team is exploring techniques to mitigate wireless signal distortion introduced by space weather. The autonomy researchers are exploring autonomous robots and vehicles for a wide range of air and land applications. Professor Paul Cannon, the Institute’s Director and Senior Fellow at QinetiQ, said, ‘QinetiQ is delighted to be working with the University of Birmingham and to be benefiting from the expertise that it has to offer.

Together we cover the full range of technology development from basic research through to equipment prototype and service provision.’ Professor Nigel Weatherill, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said, ‘The initiative represents a new and innovative model for collaboration between higher education and industry. Working in the area of common expertise the commercial focus of QinetiQ will influence the programme of basic research at the University. Working together through staff secondments both partners will use the collaboration to help meet their own strategic goals.’