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National Infrastructure Laboratory

About us

Learn more about the National Infrastructure Laboratory.

The National Infrastructure Laboratory (NIL) is part of a network of research facilities around the UK underpinning a £466 billion national infrastructure investment pipeline by the UK government. It was opened in September 2019 by Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail.

The NIL has a strong focus on infrastructure for transport and energy, as well as the built environment, liveable cities and marine and maritime systems, all of which align with Southampton’s wider strengths.

Located at Boldrewood Innovation Campus, the National Infrastructure Laboratory (NIL) hosts 5 engineering laboratories for small and large-scale testing of structures, components and materials both above and below the ground. These facilities provide world-leading test capability allowing the long-term behaviour of infrastructure to be understood.  

Our biggest space the Large Structures and Testing Laboratory – can accommodate double-storey data-rich testing of large structures and components. The Testing and Structures Research Laboratory hosts a wide range of materials and mechanical testing machines for static, dynamic and high strain rate testing. The Geomechanics Laboratory is equipped with a range of soil element testing facilities and supports the Geotechnical Centrifuge Facility, which allows accelerated testing of ground-structure-environment interactions. The Energy Laboratory hosts research into renewable generation and urban energy performance.    

The NIL is home to more than 100 academics and researchers. Our projects span all engineering disciplines, with hundreds of users across the University and beyond. In our facilities, we foster new research collaborations, we educate the next generation of engineers, and we generate knowledge for industry and business by solving their problems. 

Take a virtual tour of the facilities, on screen or using a virtual reality headset.