Partner Focus: The University of Nottingham

A Comprehensive International Research and Education Partnership


Today, more than 30 faculty from Virginia Tech (VT) and the University of Nottingham (UoN) work together in eight research areas, including human factors and Virtual Reality, biopolymers and materials, manufacturing, polymer composites, geo-energy and mining (including geospatial monitoring), transportation materials, power electronics, and gas turbine propulsion.  The comprehensive partnership has resulted in:

  • 18 joint papers published and several more submitted or under development
  • 14 graduate students (seven VT and three UoN) jointly supervised since 2013
  • 26 student research exchanges from 2012 – 2015 and 11 more planned for 2017
  • 3 joint faculty positions established 2016

Nottingham infographic

International Research Experiences

In 2013, Virginia Tech and the University of Nottingham launched the International Research Experience for Students (IRES) with funding assistance from a National Science Foundation IRES grant.  Since 2014, 25 Virginia Tech undergraduate and graduate students have traveled to the University of Nottingham conducting research for a summer or more. The University of Nottingham has sent 10 students to Virginia Tech for similar summer research experiences.  Almost 50% of participating students have been women and approximately 40% have been undergraduates.

In many cases the NSF IRES experience has led to undergraduates deciding to do a graduate degree or encouraging them to pursue a PhD as a terminal degree.  Nine students from Virginia Tech and two from University of Nottingham will travel across the Atlantic Ocean for the international research experience in 2017. 

Industry Integration

With mutual designations as a Rolls-Royce University Technology Center (UTC) and shared interests in the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) in Petersburg, VA, Virginia Tech and University of Nottingham have also found a valuable industry research partner in Rolls Royce.  As a result, IRES students benefit annually from unique research opportunities that encompass not only two flagship research universities but a private industry partner globally recognized for its engineering leadership.