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Strategic partners

Creating world class measurement scientists

In 2015, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the Universities of Strathclyde and Surrey. signed a Partnering Agreement. The Strategic Partnership was formed to enable all parties to strengthen both the excellence of their science and their engagement with business. The Universities of Strathclyde and Surrey are leading international higher education institutions whose work is impacting society and the global economy through pioneering research in priority sectors. They share an enterprising spirit and a strong track record of working with business and industry, achieved by removing barriers between scientific discoveries and commercial applications.   

Since its establishment, the collaboration has focused its efforts on many of the UK national challenges and is playing a vital role in driving the UK’s position towards becoming a science superpower. The partnership, alongside the Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science (PGI) has helped to accelerate the development of technologies towards real world applications. The collaboration with Strathclyde and Surrey is across a range of scientific areas including climate change, quantum technology, data, nuclear, 5G, space, medical physics, and digital health.   

NPL’s partnership with the Universities of Strathclyde and Surrey brings big advantages to the three organisations.  The partnership operates at many levels: from the laboratory bench to the NPL Board.  It expands the range of scientific and commercial opportunities while opening new avenues for postgraduate training.

Graeme Reid, Chair of the NPL Management Ltd Board 



Working with universities to support business

The partnership has allowed NPL to make a step change in capability, influence, and impact in line with ministerial aims. These include:  

  • Bringing greater expertise and intellectual flexibility to strengthen NPL’s science  

  • Encouraging greater interaction with business, driven by closer integration of existing innovation infrastructure and commercial activity  

  • Strengthening NPL’s links with its academic partners, through new and existing collaborations with academia and industry  

  • Creating a vibrant research community at NPL, including the Postgraduate Institute which trains high-calibre PhD students and provides a pipeline of skilled measurement scientists.  

Find out more about our partnership with the University of Strathclyde

Find out more about our partnership with the University of Surrey

The Strategic Partnership in action

Building confidence through trusted data   

Data reliability is vital in today’s society. We depend on data now almost as much as we do on electricity and running water. Professor Ghani, Head of Department for Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Strathclyde is leading jointly funded research with NPL on trusted data and building confidence in data.  This project is producing end-to-end trusted data science solutions for industry, acting as a bridge between NPL and the Industrial Informatics Cluster at Strathclyde, as well as nurturing a cohort of postgraduate researchers within the research field.   

Delivering globally accessible, precise, and personalised radiation therapy  

With 24 million new cancer cases around the world predicted by 2030, Elekta is pioneering Precision Radiation Medicine to deliver globally accessible, high-quality, efficient, precise and personalised radiation therapy. In recent years Elekta introduced Unity, the world's first MR-Linac with the possibility for superior-quality, real-time image guidance and daily treatment adaptation. This innovative technology offered a new opportunity for collaboration between the University of Surrey’s Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing, NPL’s Metrology for Medical Physics Group and Elekta. Through this successful collaboration, Surrey, NPL and Elekta have jointly supported research to develop phantoms and related materials, to allow calibration of the new MR-Linac system.