Flying high with GKN and Airbus

“Working with SAMBa students to relay how our industry understands the daily challenges in aerospace design and manufacture and for them to translate them into statistical/mathematical models and methods was a refreshing and rewarding concept. The prospective students demonstrated their creative and collaborative skills to propose alternative solutions that, if applied further, could bring worthwhile results for our business.”

Dr Kaido Kaal,
‎Aerospace Quality Manager, GKN Aerospace


GKN is a British multinational automotive and aerospace components company. Their aerospace division has been working closely with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath, particularly through their jointly sponsored (with the Royal Academy of Engineering) Chair, Richard Butler for a number of years. Through Richard’s research collaboration with Rob Scheichl from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, GKN became partners at ITT3, along with their collaborators from Airbus.

The GKN/Airbus partnership presented problems on materials design, particularly in developing robust methods for testing structures and parts of aircraft wings. These were addressed using a combination of statistical and modelling methods and have cemented collaboration between Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

Following the ITT, small projects and discussions continued between the academic departments, including some consultancy work for Airbus and their collaborator, N12 Technologies. This continued collaboration led to the funding of three PhD studentships, based in Mechanical Engineering, but with links to SAMBa, which began in 2017. Of these studentships, two are jointly funded by GKN and the EPSRC NPIF, and the other is jointly funded by Airbus and N12.


Partner case studies

Internationalising the ITT model

"The collaboration between SAMBa, UNAM and CIMAT has strengthened us in tools and techniques to visualize new perspectives of development and collaboration with a focus on generating value for other institutions."

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Flying high with Rolls-Royce

"We found participating in the ITT to be an unique and engaging environment for exchanging ideas and it was also good fun. Above all it produced some truly innovative thinking."

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Analysing risk with DNV GL

"We are working with SAMBa to develop new tools for managing risk by combining deterministic and probabilistic methods."

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Automated Image Recognition: Precision Medicine in Psoriatic Arthritis

"The students at SAMBa were engaging and motivated, above all interested in solving real world problems with their skills. As a result of SAMBa we have taken huge strides forward in a new technique in the assessment of arthritis related to psoriasis and the effect of treatment.

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Analysing usage data and optimising treatment choice with Mayden

"For a small company like ours, this research is vital in delivering our vision to create digital technologies that change what’s possible for clinicians and patients."

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Flood and coastal risk management with the Environment Agency

“Alongside the specific potential benefits to applied flood and coastal risk management, I have seen first-hand that the SAMBa CDT produces high calibre doctoral graduates with excellent skills in problem formulation and collaborative problem solving...”

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Formulating data-driven understanding for health treatments with Novartis

There were a couple of ongoing personal research collaborations with Novartis in the Department of Mathematical Sciences that were brought together to develop a set of challenges for Novartis’s participation in ITT12. These consisted of questions exploring modelling and data integration in pharmacokinetics models, and finding effective routes to drug development for liver disease.

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Networking with BT Group

“We have a great track record of successful collaboration with SAMBa, as we share a common aim – applying the latest thinking in mathematics and statistics to solve real-world problems."

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