Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Advanced VR Research Centre


Welcome to the Advanced VR Research Centre (AVRRC) located in the heart of the Holywell Science and Enterprise Park at Loughborough University.

As a leading Centre for Virtual Engineering we research the underpinning science and engineering that will transform future industrial digitalization and adoption of concepts like Industry 4.0 and beyond. We focus on the transformation of information intensive engineering and manufacturing through a connected environment of data, people, processes, services, systems and production assets by generating leverage and utilisation of actionable information.

We develop advanced modelling, co-simulation, interactive visualization techniques (including augmented and virtual reality), model based systems engineering, big data and digital twins to gain greater understanding of the performance, behaviour and emergent properties of complex systems and associated advanced technology across a wide range of application areas.

Our research has extremely close links with industry and our aim is to deliver solutions to otherwise intractable problems in a timely manner across a wide number of sectors including aerospace, automotive, construction, defence, energy, healthcare, homeland security, infrastructure resilience, manufacturing, scientific exploration, space and transport. 

The AVRRC was the first, and is the longest established VR Centre in a UK University.  We have been extremely fortunate to have received significant funding throughout our existence - being responsive to the changes in industry needs and advances in technology (hardware and software).

About us

The Advanced VR Research Centre (AVRRC) undertakes research to underpin the science and engineering that will transform future digitalisation and adoption of Industry 4.0 concepts. We focus on the transformation of information intensive engineering and manufacturing through a connected environment of data, people, processes, services, systems and production assets by generating, leverage and utilisation of actionable information. In particular, we employ advanced modelling, simulation and interactive visualization techniques to gain greater understanding of the performance, behaviour and emergent properties of complex systems across a wide range of application areas.

We regard modelling, simulation and visualization (M,S,V) as a continuum involving abstract or mathematical representations of system behaviour or function through to complex coupled models and simulations that represent significantly complex systems. Invariably, the human is an integral part of the system either as a designer or eventual user. Interactive visualization (including augmented and virtual reality) has been an integral part of our approach because it provides the means to interact, probe and investigate the system being modelled. Our visualization research spans the field of multi-criteria visual analytics through to high fidelity representations of the real world. Consequently, our research involves developing new approaches to significantly improve the effectiveness of human interaction with complex systems through nvel interfaces such as augmented and visrtual reality..

In the early days we focussed predominantly on virtual interfaces for synthetic environments. However, this research has evolved over the years to include the wider aspects of coupled models and simulations across a heterogeneous modelling and simulation environment. We have developed digital twins as a means of linking virtual (digital) mimics with equivalents in teh real world. Consequently, coupling digital twins with Big Data analytics across different disciplines has led to significant breakthroughs in how to process complex interactions within the data to enable human beings to interpret and understand otherwise incomprehensible data interactions.

A consistent set of themes that have underpinned our research from the mid 1990s has been collaborative virtual engineering environments, human factors, model based systems engineering, sensory systems, systems engineering and advanced visualization.

The AVRRC is located in Loughborough University's Science and Enterprise park known as Holywell Park (see picture below).

 Holywell Park Aerial shot

Our aims

Our aims are extremely ambitious and involve transforming digitalisation through concepts such as Industry 4.0 and the development and application of virtual engineering, encompassing advanced modelling, simulation and visualization techniques to:

  • Fully understand highly complex system behaviour (involving people, processes and technology) in order to predict performance and control emergent properties
  • Apply innovative systems thinking and human factors knowledge to provide effective solutions to extremely difficult and often intractable system problems
  • Create highly reliable and verifiable models of systems and their sensors
  • Develop advanced virtual engineering environments and relevant tools
  • Develop new architectural concepts for digital twins
  • Research and development underpinning augmented and virtual reality - addressing the science and engineering behind these important concepts
  • Develop optimal solutions through advanced visual analytics
  • Transforming concepts such as Industry 4.0 through developing new insights from information, knowledge and big data
  • Enhancing the experience in distributed collaborative environments.


We gratefully acknowledge all our research funders, sponsors, collaborators and partners. They have been extremely supportive and enthusiastic about our research.

We should also make special mention to the many companies who have very kindly donated some of the facilities that have enabled us to establish a world class centre.

The following list is not exhaustive:

Funding Councils/Bodies


EU Commission

Innovate UK




Royal Academy of Engineering

Technology Strategy Board

British Swimming




ALES – Italy

Alvis Logistics

BAE Systems

CARMEC - Germany


EADS – France, Germany

HonorCode - USA

IBM - Israel

Israel Aerospace Industries

Jaguar Land Rover

MultiGen Paradigm




SEOS Displays

Seven Trent Water

Silicon Graphics

Thales - France



Manchester University

Imperial College

University College London

University of Exeter

Cranfield University

University of Nottingham

University of Oxford

INRIA – France

Cardiff University

Rutherford Appleton Laboratories - STFC

Kings College London

University of Leeds

Stevens Institute - USA

Reality Grid collaborators

University of South Australia – Adelaide