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TWI Innovation Network

The TWI Innovation Network brings together academic knowledge and technical knowhow, nurturing innovation and accelerating research and development to meet socio-economic and environmental challenges.

The network links academia and industry nationally and internationally, with its growing portfolio of success including the specialist Innovation Centres which access Innovate UK and Horizon 2020 platforms, and the targeted Accelerated Innovation Programmes alongside TWI Members to meet strategic industry needs.

Partner organisations in the network benefit from a sharing of expertise and the momentum to innovate in a distinct industrial environment.

The network is driven by the Structural Integrity Research Foundation with its engagement with large enterprises including Lloyd’s Register Foundation and BP, leading universities and academic institutions, and an Industrial Membership base via TWI.

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Innovation Network Structure

What We Do

TWI’s Innovation Network was created under the umbrella of the Structural Integrity Research Foundation (SIRF). SIRF began as a partnership between TWI, BP and the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) with the aim of developing world-leading structural integrity resources in the form of facilities, people and skills, as well as application-focused programmes of work, which meet recognised academic and business standards of excellence.

As a means to help achieve these aims, the TWI Innovation Network works to nurture and coordinate partnerships to enable engineering advances in specialist areas across a range of industry sectors in response to commercial needs, as well as helping with the training and up-skilling of the next generation of industry experts and staff.

Innovation Network partners benefit from an open access to facilities, allowing them to carry out work at TWI headquarters in Cambridge using state-of-the-art equipment in dedicated laboratories.

Innovation Centres:

The Innovation Network includes eight Innovation Centres (ICs) created in partnership with four UK universities and the Transport Systems Catapult. The centres share research and technology capabilities and undertake joint research programmes to develop the next generation of technologies and engineers in selected research disciplines. While each of the centres focuses on different areas of joint industry research, each is closely linked with the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC), which carries out industry-led postgraduate research with a focus on materials, joining, and structural integrity technologies.

Accelerated Innovation Programmes:

Alongside the Innovation Centres exist a series of Accelerated Innovation Programmes (AIPs) which focus on the immediate interests of TWI Industrial Member organisations. These partnerships are focused on innovation, with the aim of developing and introducing sector-specific, safety and quality, or product and process advances to maximum effect to drive businesses forward. With links to the Innovation Centres, these AIPs use TWI’s contacts to help to facilitate the spread of innovation in areas of materials, joining, and structural integrity.


The Innovation Network has received millions of pounds in funding from InnovateUK and the European Commission to develop projects in oil and gas, power, transport, manufacturing, infrastructure and healthcare technologies, creating benefits for both industry and academia to promote economic growth, productivity, prosperity and close the skills gap in industry.


TWI is one of the world’s foremost independent research and technology organisations, with expertise in materials joining and engineering processes as applied in industry. TWI specialises in innovation, knowledge transfer and in solving problems across all aspects of manufacturing, fabrication and whole-life integrity management.

Established in Cambridge, UK in 1946, the organisation has gained a first-class reputation for service through its teams of respected consultants, scientists, engineers and support staff. Now, approaching 1000 employees, it works with over 1800 Industrial Member companies in 70 countries.  

TWI currently operates from 54,000 square metres (581,000 square feet) of manufacturing, testing and training space; five UK and 13 overseas facilities serve both its Industrial Membership and its training and examination needs. A successful international training and examinations programme sees 25,000 students trained each year in welding and inspection technologies.  

In 2015, TWI opened three new laboratories at its Cambridge headquarters, including state-of-the art facilities for the National Structural Integrity Research Centre, a dedicated postgraduate centre for industry-led engineering research.  

TWI also houses a professional institution, The Welding Institute, with a separate membership of 6000 individuals.