Sign up for NPL updates
Sign up for NPL updates

Receive regular emails from NPL to get a glimpse of our activities and see how our experts are informing and influencing scientific debate

Universities and research organisations

NPL and University of Strathclyde

Strengthening collaboration across a range of scientific areas 

In 2015, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the University of Strathclyde entered a Strategic partnership along with the University of Surrey and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology with the aim of joining expertise and knowledge. The collaboration has focused its efforts on the many of the UK national challenges and plays a vital role in driving the UK’s position as a science superpower. One of the key goals of the partnership has been the creation of the Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science which provides a pipeline of highly skilled industry ready researchers.   

NPL has a physical presence at The University of Strathclyde (UoS) in the Technology and Innovation Centre, where NPL staff work closely with scientists across the university. Creating a base in Scotland, has allowed companies and academics across the country to access the UK’s metrology capabilities. The NPL and Strathclyde partnership brings together academia and industry to address key challenges supported by measurement science, these include:  

  • Quantum and timing
  • Data science
  • Digital manufacturing 

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us.​ 

Contact us

Working closely with academia has enabled NPL to deliver activities and capabilities in Scotland, increase scientific knowledge and establish local networks which accelerates the impact of our research.

JT Janssen , NPL Chief Scientist

Research Areas

The collaboration between UoS and NPL looks to address many of the UK national challenges and projects. Highlights include:

Quantum and timing

A National timing node is being established in Scotland at UoS, this will be one of three National Timing Centre (NTC) Innovation Node in the UK. It will deliver traceable timing signals for timing applications/from basic to industrial research. 

Dr Alessandro Rossi’s joint appointment addressing research in semiconductor-based quantum computing has allowed NPL to expand its research portfolio within the National Quantum Technology Programme (NQTP) by supporting the activities of the Quantum Computing and Simulation (QCS) Hub.

Digital manufacturing

NPL Scotland has developed ongoing relationships with companies across Scotland, helping to address measurement challenges for smart grids, continuous manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and advanced manufacturing. NPL’s Data Science team and the Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation (CMAC) Hub at Strathclyde, are developing best practice and new standards for data and applications in medicines manufacturing.

Data science

NPL have been at the heart of UoS activity in the £33m Trusted Autonomous Systems project funded by UKRI and are a key stakeholder in the Industrial Informatics Cluster at UoS aimed at producing end-to-end trusted data science solutions for industry.  

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. End-to-end trusted data science solutions produced for industry also act as a bridge between NPL and the Industrial Informatics Cluster at Strathclyde.



I am both proud of and impressed by the impact of our Strategic Partnership with the National Physical Laboratory, Surrey University and BEIS. We deliver this value alongside our additional bilateral activities with NPL. Together we have extended the breadth and depth of joint research in a wide range of topics in measurement science, often in collaboration with industrial partners.

Sir Jim McDonald Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde

Student research

Ana Andries

Karolina Kokurewicz 

 Investigation of focused Very High Energy Electrons (VHEEs) as a new radiotherapy method

Karolina’s research investigated a new radiotherapy treatment modality that uses a single very high energy electron (VHEE) beam focused by a magnetic lens to create a high dose region in a small volume.  Dr Kokurewicz is continuing her work on VHEE therapy in collabroation with NPL, CERN and the institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Science while working as a research assistant at the University of Strathclyde.

ShoanShoan Debnath

Fibre optic sensors for pH measurement in harsh environments

This project is aimed at fabricating a pH sensor using an optical fibre suitable for measuring pH in harsh conditions of high temperature and pressure. During the project a coating consisting of silver nanoparticles embedded in silica was developed using sol-gel synthesis. This was decorated on an optical fibre and tested under different harsh conditions to observe its effectiveness to accurately measure the pH of these environments.

Peter Hou

Peter Hou

Developing a smart and miniaturised feeder for pharmaceuticals

This project focuses on developing a micro-feeding system that can feed a wide range of solid pharmaceutical materials and accurately measure micrograms. An accurate powder micro-feeder that has the potential to act as a key element for future micro-factories to manufacture personalised medicines and the enormous potential they have to realise targeted and highly effective treatments, especially for cancer patients.

Spotlight – Alessandro Rossi

Alessandro Rossi

Dr Alessandro Rossi, a jointly funded appointment by NPL and the University of Strathclyde, is carrying out pioneering research in the National Quantum Technology Programme (NQTP). Dr Rossi has been awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship to establish a state-of-the-art cryogenic quantum lab at Strathclyde and build a multidisciplinary scientific team to investigate novel quantum devices in wide-bandgap semiconductors. This work importantly links to the Ion Beam Centre at the University of Surrey, where sample processing will be carried out, as well as to Hitachi Cambridge where device characterisation via optical techniques will be performed.


We are at a stage where rudimentary academic-led quantum prototypes show huge potential but require industrial backing to fulfil their promise. The synergy between academia and industry that my joint appointment embodies is a strategic move in the right direction.

Alessandro Rossi

Spotlight on the National Timing Centre

In March 2022, NPL announced the selection of three innovation nodes in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, University of Surrey, and Cranfield University. These innovation nodes are being developed in partnership between NPL and the host organisations and will enable the application of timing and frequency across any sector.

NPL is the home of UK Time and from here accurate timing, traceable to co-ordinated universal time (UTC), is supplied to key locations. The National Timing Centre (NTC) programme is paving the way for trusted and assured time and frequency across the UK, by developing the first nationally distributed time infrastructure, which will aid the acceleration of new technologies such as time-critical 5G and 6G applications, factories of the future and connected autonomous vehicles.

The three innovation nodes, will each provide a combination of traceable timing signals and laboratory space for industry R&D, testing and validation of products and applications. The aim is to support business-led innovation and stimulate the UK supply chain and UK capability in this domain.

The NTC innovation nodes are a significant step toward understanding the requirements for access to resilient, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-independent and traceable time and frequency. We are pleased to be partnering with the host organisations and supporting the research and industry ecosystems to develop the supply chain for new products and services.

Dr Leon Lobo, Head of the National Timing Centre (NTC) Programme

Research projects

Quantum and timing

Future goals of the National Timing Cemtre include operating an innovation node at Strathclyde bridging NPL’s National Timing Centre and Quantum Test & Evaluation programme. This includes 50 square metres of lab facilities with collaborative space access.

NPL and Strathclyde are exploring opportunities to engage the photonics, quantum, fintech and energy community in Glasgow to support new services and R&D of products and new uses of time and frequency. We hope this will grow an ecosystem and act as a proof of concept for how resilient time benefits both academia and industry.

Digital manufacturing and engineering

NPL and the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland signed an MoU in 2021. The aim of the partnership is to facilitate the delivery of innovation, skills and services through metrology applications and training. 

Collaborative research in artificial intelligence to reliably predict aspects of performance and manufacturability reduces the need for costly experimentation.  This work has led to NPL becoming a formal partner of the Medicines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre.


Data science

A new cohort of seven postgraduate researchers is working on problems aligned to research on dependent types for trustworthy tools. This work on trusted data is being developed further through joint applications exploring uncertainty management, generating trusted code and the use of ‘robotic assistants’

If you are interested in finding out more or supporting any collaboration projects, please contact us.

Contact us

Dissemination of research

Waiting time distributions in a two-level fluctuator coupled to a superconducting charge detector​​

We analyze charge fluctuations in a parasitic state strongly coupled to a superconducting Josephson-junction based charge detector. The charge dynamics of the state resembles that of electron transport in a quantum dot with two charge states, and hence we refer to it as a two-level fluctuator. By constructing the distribution of waiting times from the measured detector signal and comparing it with a waiting time theory, we extract the electron in- and out-tunneling rates for the two-level fluctuator, which are severely asymmetric.​

Impact of paracetamol impurities on face properties: Investigating the surface of single crystals using TOF-SIMS

Understanding the mechanism of interaction between pharmaceutical molecules and impurities on crystal surfaces is a key concept for the design of pharmaceutical crystallization processes. This study explores the distribution of impurity and its concentration on the different crystal faces of samples obtained by crystallization over a range of impurity loadings and supersaturation conditions.

Infinite horizon extensive form games, coalgebraically

In a series of papers, Douglas Bridges investigated constructive aspects of the theory of games where players move simultaneously (so-called normal form games), and their preference relations. This article is concerned with a constructive treatment of games where players move sequentially.

Non-leaching, highly biocompatible nanocellulose surfaces that efficiently resist fouling by bacteria in an artificial dermis model

Bacterial biofilm infections incur massive costs on healthcare systems worldwide. Particularly worrisome are the infections associated with pressure ulcers and prosthetic, plastic, and reconstructive surgeries, where staphylococci are the major biofilm-forming pathogens. Non-leaching antimicrobial surfaces offer great promise for the design of bioactive coatings to be used in medical devices.

Collaboration at a glance​

>105 publications

>950 citations 

6  joint academic appointments

>25% of the Postgraduate Institute cohort are University of Strathclyde students  ​


Peter Hou, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and NPL joint student, has been awarded both the CMAC 2022 Researcher Award and the 2022 Stephen Young Entrepreneur Award for Outstanding Business Idea Research Paper.

Alessandro Rossi was awarded the UKRI Future Leader Fellowship, to help develop his innovative research project.

Lewis Hill, a former PGI student, received a national-level award from Doctoral Researcher Awards in recognition of contributions made during his PhD.  He was also awarded  for his PhD thesis on the "The spontaneous symmetry breaking of light in passive Kerr ring resonators" and the Fred Stern Memorial Prize by the Department of Physics.

Joint PhD student in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Caitlin Thomson, was awarded the Francis Dunstan Travel Award for her research on Raman metrology for live cell imaging.

Work with us

Our research and measurement solutions support innovation and product development. We work with companies to deliver business advantage and commercial success.
Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070