Loughborough bolsters ties with RAF to improve the future of military technology

Loughborough University has strengthened its long-standing relationship with the Royal Air Force by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - an agreement which will see the two institutions working towards common goals.

Air Commodore Jez Holmes (pictured left), Head of the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), was invited to Loughborough to meet Vice Chancellor Professor Nick Jennings (right) last week and officially sign the partnership pledge.

The University already has a number of RAF sponsored studentships focussed on AI-based vehicle condition monitoring, communications systems for aerial platforms and decision making.

This agreement will provide further opportunities to increase impact from the University’s research. Potential future collaborations include staff exchanges, visiting positions and fellowships, alignment of student projects and research programmes, student visits to specialist facilities, and staff education and continuing professional development to sustain the key skills needed by Defence science and technology.

Prof Jennings said: “This is a fantastic partnership and by working together, we can help to enhance the capabilities and technologies needed to ensure the future security of the UK.”

Air Cdre Holmes added: “I am delighted that this valuable relationship is being developed with Loughborough University and I look forward to seeing the fruits of this collaboration.”

Loughborough has a number of joint projects with the RAF, including using machine learning and artificial intelligence for battlespace networking, drone control and command decision-making.

“The MOU will provide a springboard for future work in many aspects of Loughborough research with the RAF,” said Dr Iain Phillips, Head of Computer Science at Loughborough, who is collaborating with Professor Patrick Baker of RCO.

Also present at the signing ceremony were the Dean of Science, Professor Claudia Eberlein, Provost Professor Chris Linton and Research Support Manager, Dr Katy Wing.


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 22/231

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 2022 QS World University Rankings – the sixth 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.