National Physical Laboratory

University collaborations University Collaborations

NPL has extensive university interactions, collaborating with 75 universities, of which 45 are in the UK.

In January 2015, NPL became a government company, 100% owned by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). On 1 April 2015, a Partnering Agreement was concluded between BEIS, NPL, the University of Strathclyde and the University of Surrey. This partnership is designed to deliver the Minister for Universities and Science's ambitions for NPL, notably in developing its academic and business links, with specific opportunities to grow its science through joint research centres; grow NPL's regional impact; and support the development of an innovative postgraduate institute.

NPL also has agreements with many other universities, focusing on collaborative research activities. In some cases, these are institutional level research agreements (framework partnerships), and in other cases, subject-specific agreements (research partnerships).

Strategic Partnerships

NPL's strategic partnership universities are those that have been engaged by BEIS as partners within NPL's operating model.
The Vice-Chancellors from these universities sit on the NPL Board. The universities have also made significant commitments to BEIS to support the development of NPL and metrology across the UK.

The Strategic Partnership universities are:

University of Strathclyde logo University of Surrey logo
University of Strathclyde University of Surrey

As part of the partnership agreement, NPL and its partners committed to establishing four NPL regional hubs; one with each of the strategic partners above and two further hubs with our framework partners, the University of Cambridge and the University of Huddersfield.

Framework Partnerships

NPL's framework partnership universities have broad, institutional level, research agreements covered by an overarching Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement between NPL and the respective university.

Each of the framework partnerships is managed by a steering committee, that meets regularly to review progress. This involves senior staff from both NPL and the university.

NPL currently has five framework partnership universities:

University of Birmingham
Cambridge University
Edinburgh University
University of Birmingham University of Cambridge University of Edinburgh
University of Huddersfield
Imperial College
University of Huddersfield Imperial College London

Research Partnerships

NPL's research partnership universities are subject specific to advance a particular science activity and collaboration.

The research partnership model is managed by the NPL science area and the associated academic group. There is a wide range of such partnerships: examples include work with the University of Manchester on graphene and with Royal Holloway, University of London, on quantum metrology.

Get in touch

For further information on NPL's university partnerships, or to discuss a potential collaboration, please contact us



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