An image of the Loughborough University wind tunnel

Loughborough University part of £23 million UKRI investment in National Wind Tunnel Facility

Loughborough University has received multi-million-pound funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to create a new automotive wind tunnel.

It is part of a £23 million investment by UKRI to establish a National Wind Tunnel Facility+ (NWTF+).This will deliver a network of world-leading wind tunnels, addressing societal and industrial challenges including the generation of net zero technologies; advances in emissions reduction; and future technologies for transport, energy, and healthcare.

Loughborough is world renowned for its research in the field of automotive aerodynamics. Flow measurements taken at the University for a simplified car shape have become a standard accuracy assessment test for 20 international organisations, including universities, engineering software providers and major car companies.

The new wind tunnel will be used to expand Loughborough’s research capability in understanding the behaviour of wheel sprays, complementing its existing large automotive wind tunnel facility.

Professor Gary Page, Chair of Computational Aerodynamics at the University’s Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering Department explains: “There are an increasing number of sensors on cars to aid drivers and provide levels of autonomy. We need to know under what conditions these sensors will stop functioning or behave incorrectly in adverse weather conditions.

“The new facility at Loughborough will enable this safety critical research to take place and advance knowledge and development across the automotive sector.”

Planning and construction of the wind tunnel is due to begin in April 2024.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 23/103

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.