The University of Southampton

Business collaboration case studies

We have a long history of successful business research collaborations. Here are just a few examples of partnerships with a range of companies and organisations.

Scroll down or use the links below to jump to a case study. To discuss partnership opportunities for your business, contact one of our collaboration managers.

Airbus Office for National Statistics
Deep Sea Recovery Ltd Oil and gas industry links
Guy's and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust/
Precision Acoustics
Sharp Laboratories of Europe
IBM Southampton Youth Offending Service
Lloyd's Register SolData

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Our collaboration with Airbus on a range of noise research and development projects has led to the creation of the University’s Airbus Noise Technology Centre.

The Centre's immediate aim is to help meet noise reduction targets for 2020 set by the Advisory Council for Aeronautical Research. It brings together academic staff, research fellows and PhD students using state-of-the-art computer simulations and wind tunnel testing to develop new noise reduction concepts, which is done through advanced research and development across a range of new technologies.

Find out more about the Airbus Noise Technology Centre.

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Deep Sea Recovery Ltd

Our engineering experts worked with Deep Sea Recovery Ltd on a project to develop a new method of raising and lowering massive sub-sea objects using a cryogenic marine heavy lift buoyancy system. Because of the harsh environment in which the patented buoyancy facility will operate, the development of this product brought together a number of unique challenges that required expertise from a variety of disciplines.

Through the partnership, Deep Sea Recovery received a £1.3m grant for the project from the Technology Strategy Board (now called Innovate UK), plus further investment of £1.3m from an industry consortium. 

"Access to Southampton’s rich academic resource plus the availability of its extensive facilities have enabled our project to push back the boundaries."

Philip Pritchard, Director, Deep Sea Recovery Ltd

Read more about our marine and maritime industry links (PDF)

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Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust/Precision Acoustics Ltd

Researchers from the University's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) worked with the NHS and Precision Acoustics Ltd, a leading manufacturer of ultrasonic measurement equipment. The goal was to develop a listening device to monitor the effectiveness of kidney stone treatment, saving the financial and social cost of patients having to return for repeat therapy and X-ray monitoring.

Dubbed the 'smart stethoscope', in clinical trials the new device detected 94.7 per cent of successful treatments, compared to the 36.8 per cent detected by clinicians in theatre using the current available technology.

Find out more about our collaboration between Guy's and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust and Precision Acoustics Ltd.

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Southampton is one of the first UK universities to make use of the  IBM Watson analytics service, following its launch in September 2014. The collaboration with the tech giant will touch all areas of research at the University and enable the analysis of unstructured data in a way that has not been feasible before.

The University will be collaborating with IBM Watson on exciting, groundbreaking interdisciplinary PhD research projects across a wide range of sectors from marine and maritime to computer science, computational chemistry and medical research.

Find out more about our partnership with IBM.

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Lloyd’s register

The University’s longstanding relationship with Lloyd’s Register has led to the largest research collaboration of its kind in the UK. Hundreds of staff and students from the University and engineering and technical staff from Lloyd's Register are working together on a new state-of-the-art technology and education campus following a £120m investment.

The Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) is a unique centre of excellence with a research, innovation and education community from universities, research institutes, industry and governments. The campus incorporates the Lloyd's Register Group Technology Centre, the cornerstone of the organisation's global research and development network.

“The opportunities for collaboration that Southampton offers within the UK are really attractive. In order to keep up with the fast-paced industry and the increase in the range of technologies available on ships, it is really important that we work closer with academic institutions so we have the edge over our competitors.”

Tim Kent, Marine Technical Director, Lloyd’s Register

Find out more about the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute.

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The University’s Microsoft Institute for High Performance Computing was established in November 2005. It is the only one of its kind in the UK and one of just nine worldwide. The Institute pushes the latest technologies to tackle real-world scientific and engineering problems. Our world-class researchers work closely with industrial partners across the aerospace, automotive, bioengineering, marine and telecommunications sectors.

Find out more about the Microsoft Institute for High Performance Computing.

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Office for National Statistics

Our ongoing collaboration with the census and geography teams at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has enabled the ONS to improve its analysis of Census data.

The collaboration began in 1996 when our academics worked with the ONS Census Division developing GIS (geographic information system) techniques to design a completely new system of small areas for publishing Census results. This work led to the creation of the output areas used across England and Wales for the 2001 Census and, subsequently, to the system of super output areas which are the foundation of the Neighbourhood Statistics Service.

Ongoing research projects include ONS-funded follow-up research concerned with evaluating the impacts of various related policy decisions and implementing the methods for the 2011 Census. The software and methods were subsequently adopted by ONS to create the 2011 output areas for England and Wales, which were released in October 2012.

Find out more about our partnership with the Office for National Statistics.

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Oil and gas industry links

Research by the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre into distributed optical fibre sensing has had a significant economic and environmental impact within the oil and gas industries.

One area of research tackles the challenge of reservoir monitoring. As oil becomes harder to find today’s reservoirs are being situated further offshore and at greater depths, leading to an increased need for more reliable ways of transmitting sensor signals over longer distances and in deeper seas.

Research projects with companies such as Stingray Geophysical and Sensa Schlumberger have made an important contribution to this field through the development of a variety of optical fibre sensors that allow accurate measurement of acoustic fields, temperature and strain distributions over distances of more than more than 500km. The technologies are being implemented to increase extraction efficiency and monitor long-distance subsea cabling.

Find out more about our collaborations with oil and gas companies.

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Sharp Laboratories of Europe

The creation of a handheld fully integrated lab-on-a-chip device is a key goal within the field of medical diagnostics. Researchers from the University’s Centre for Hybrid Biodevices worked with Sharp Laboratories of Europe Ltd to develop a new type of device using the phenomenon of electrowetting to move discrete droplets of fluid on an electrode array and perform biochemical assays. The large size and easily reprogrammable nature of this array allows this technology to be very flexible, overcoming a limitation suffered by many other microfluidic technologies and allowing it to be used for a variety of applications.

Find out more about the lab-on-a-chip devices developed by the University and Sharp Laboratories.

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Southampton Youth Offending Service

Working with Southampton Youth Offending Service we have translated research into the social and intellectual value of conceptual art into effective personal development programmes for socially excluded young people. The partnership has enabled the Youth Offending Service to develop evidence-based approaches based on research conducted at the Winchester School of Art, delivered in conjunction with the University’s John Hansard Gallery. The programmes have resulted in a drop in reoffending and enabled disengaged young people to attain qualifications and improve their job prospects.

Find out more about our work with the Southampton Youth Offending Service.

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Building new metro systems and urban road and rail links often involves tunnelling under heavily built up areas, where it is vital that any resulting ground displacement is detected as early as possible. The University's IT Innovation Centre worked with high-performance measurement company SolData to improve the interpretation and decision management supported by ground displacement sensor networks. The project was supported by European Commission funding.

We developed a generic sensor fusion software framework that works with Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) compliant sensor measurement databases descriptions. SolData is now looking to use this to simplify adding new processing capability to the SolData monitoring system and lower the cost of integration with third party sensor measurement database services.

"The systematic use of fusion and models in SolData monitoring system would not only allow the users to get richer information, but would also constitute an enhanced early warning system, and ease the analysis of monitoring data. In SolData's line of business, fusion would benefit to all its users and stakeholders."

Gabriel Garcia, Group Director of Research & Development, SolData

Read about more IT Innovation industry partnerships.

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