University of Leeds

The University of Leeds (UoL) is one of the top UK universities for research and impact power. The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 saw Leeds ranked in 10th place for research power, a measure of the number of people producing the highest quality research. The assessment identified that over 80% of research at Leeds has a top quality rating of either “world leading” or “internationally excellent”.  It is home to Robotics at Leeds, a large interdisciplinary network driving robotics research, and the EPSRC National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems. The Self-Repairing Cities aligns with the work at the University into urban and exploratory robots, giving the opportunity for advances to cross over in both directions (read more in our blog on these robots). The University is also one of the largest in the UK with over 33,000 students from 145 countries.


UCL is the top-rated university in the UK for research strength in REF2014, by a measure of average research score multiplied by staff numbers submitted. It has the largest amount of academic research activity in STEM, with over 100 investigators in materials research from among several Faculties. Key strengths include; computational materials science, materials chemistry, nano- and functional materials as well as the emerging field of biomaterials and technology for healthcare engineering. The UCL Institute of Making encourages play, research and development through making prototypes. It provides a fully equipped workshop, technical training, a library of materials, inspiration and support.

University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham (UB): Awarded the Times Higher University of the Year for 2013/14, UB has academic staff of distinction (many recognised as international leaders in their fields) and attracts students of high ability. UB is also one of the leading research-based universities in the UK; the breadth of research expertise is a distinctive characteristic of the University. Researchers have access to top-class infrastructure and benefit from the support and expertise of the Finance Office and Research and Commercial Services, when involved in research projects.

University of Southampton

The Computational Engineering Design department at the University of Southampton is a centre of excellence for the design and manufacture of small unmanned aircraft. Research within the centre covers helium balloons, fixed wing, as well as rotary wing aircraft. In 2012 we won the DARPA UAVForge challenge and in 2015 we won the inaugural IMechE UAS Challenge. During the last five years the department has brought in over £10m in research income. We specialize in a real-world systems approach to design and development. We will be flying several systems at this years Farnborough Air Show.

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