University of Glasgow receives £1.7m to support National Wind Tunnel Facility

University of Glasgow receives £1.7m to support National Wind Tunnel Facility

Issued: Thu, 09 Jan 2014 07:30:00 GMT

The University of Glasgow has been awarded £1.7m to support wind-tunnel research, it was announced today (Thursday 9 January).

A total of seven UK universities will share £13.3m from the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC) and the UK Aerodynamics Centre to form the National Wind Tunnel Facility (NWTF), creating new opportunities for pioneering aerodynamics and fluid dynamics research and for supporting the UK’s aerospace industry. The industry, the second-largest in the world, employs more than 230,000 people and contributes £24b to the economy each year.

BBC News Online: Seven universities set up national wind tunnel facility 
Daily Record: Glasgow University awarded £1.7m to upgrade wind tunnel used for aerospace and aerodynamic research

The award was announced by the Minister for Universities and Science, Rt Hon David Willetts MP, at an event held at Imperial College London today. Imperial College London is sharing in the funding along with City University London and the Universities of Cambridge, Cranfield, Glasgow, Oxford, and Southampton. The facilities will be available for use by researchers and industry and will be able to simulate a wide variety of environments to build understanding of both low and high speed conditions.

The University of Glasgow has received £1.7m to upgrade one of the School of Engineering’s four existing wind tunnels. The 2.7m by 2.1m tunnel is based at the University’s Acre Road facility in Glasgow. In addition to enabling unsteady aerodynamics research in areas of aerospace such as rotorcraft, the upgraded tunnel will aid the development of key technologies in the wind energy sector. The award will be used to enhance the capabilities of the tunnel, particularly by introducing a gust facility, and equip it with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment that will allow real-time measurement of off- and on-body flows.

Professor John Marsh, Head of the University’s School of Engineering, said: “We’re pleased and proud to be the only Scottish university to be joining the National Wind Tunnel Facility. It’s a testament to the expertise of our engineering staff, which has recently been augmented by the appointment of two new aerodynamics specialists. We offer the only dedicated undergraduate degrees in Aeronautical Engineering in Scotland and the award will also allow us to further improve these and our postgraduate teaching.”

The National Wind Tunnel Facility will include seven wind tunnels spread across universities throughout the UK. For maximum UK benefit in the future, the UK requires a balance of academic and industrially-oriented facilities. To meet this need, EPSRC and the UK Aerodynamics Centre are working together to co-fund a portfolio of distributed, but co-ordinated, facilities so their usage can be optimised.

The NWTF will support research addressing problems in many sectors but with a primary focus on aerospace research, a key contributor to the UK’s GDP.

Mr Willetts said: “This new investment will support research that is vital to the UK economy, including developing the next generation of fuel efficient heavy goods vehicles. This will create huge energy savings to businesses, as well as bringing environmental benefits. It is pioneering work that will help the UK get ahead in the global race.”

David Delpy, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said: “This new National Facility builds on our previous investments in Aerodynamics and Fluid Dynamics related research and PhD training across the institutions involved. These represent a total research portfolio of over £37 million.”

The total funding for the Facility is £13.3 million, with £10.7 million coming from The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and £2.6 million from the UK Aerodynamics Centre.

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Notes to Editors




Principal Investigator

Honda Tunnel

Imperial College London

Professor Jonathan Morrison

Mitchell Tunnel

University of Southampton

Professor  Bharath Ganapathisubramani

High Density Tunnel

University of Oxford

Professor  Peter Ireland

Markham Wind Tunnel

University of Cambridge

Professor Holger Babinsky

Icing Tunnel

Cranfield University

Professor Kevin Garry


Gaster Wind Tunnel

City University London

Professor Christopher Atkin



De Havilland


University of Glasgow

Professor Frank Coton and Dr R Green



Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. 

The UK Aerodynamics Centre

The UK Aerodynamics Centre (UKAC) is part of a significant seven-year investment programme into the UK Aerospace Sector by Government and industry representatives. Focusing on aerodynamics as one of the UK’s most prestigious areas of industrial expertise, UKAC has developed and guided the national strategy for the sector, which includes the allocation of major industrial research funds. 

During the course of 2014 UKAC will be integrated with the newly-formed Aerospace Technology Institute, where it will continue its work to protect, sustain and grow the UK aerospace industry in collaboration with the wider community.



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