The Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership Celebration web

Multi-million-pound partnership celebrates taking aerospace industry to new heights

Friday, 28 April 2023

A multi-million-pound partnership, which brought academia and industry together to instigate innovation and mechanical excellence in the aerospace sector, has come to an end after making multiple advances in technologies.

The Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership, led by the University of Nottingham alongside industry partner Rolls-Royce and academic partners University of Oxford and Imperial College London, was awarded £13.5 million in funding by the EPSRC and partners in 2017 to advance six key areas of mechanical engineering science. Since then, Queen’s University Belfast has also joined the partnership due to its expertise in structural behaviour.

The partnership advanced mechanical engineering science, bringing low carbon aircraft propulsion closer to reality, and supported the exploration of new designs that improve efficiency, reduce noise pollution, and lower gas turbine engine weight, through work in the following areas:

  • High power-density contacts
  • Impact and intelligent failure management
  • Advanced static and dynamic load management
  • Exploiting aero-structural interactions
  • Innovations in thermal management
  • Electro-mechanical interactions
  • Influence of platform behaviour on sub-system design
The Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership has proven itself to be highly effective, allowing industry and academia to collaborate more closely in a way that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
Professor Seamus Garvey, Principal Investigator of the Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership at the University of Nottingham

Professor Garvey continued: "Being involved in this partnership has been a remarkably fulfilling experience and the collaboration between partners has been fantastic.

“All of the institutions involved are leading experts in their respective fields but, by bringing them together, we’ve been able to identify and nurture new ideas and research areas. The administrative aspects have been proportional, and the technical discoveries and innovations have been both very satisfying and valuable to Rolls-Royce.”

The partnership has resulted in the creation of a world-first simultaneous measurement of gas and liquid interfacial turbulence, which is vital for the understanding of oil flows in aerospace applications and allows designers to make the system even more efficient. It’s also produced new single winding arrangements for electrical motors that release design constraints, allowing aeroengines to be smaller and, therefore, greener, and more efficient. Additionally, a new test facility was opened enabling complex engine vibration behaviour to be measured, which helps develop new approaches for engine safety.

Dr Sophoclis Patsias, Senior Partnership Manager at Rolls-Royce, said “It has been a privilege to play a leading role in the programme, bringing together this diverse and talented group who have delivered exceptional research that has a direct benefit both to Rolls-Royce and to the wider community.”

The partnership has underpinned our engagement with leading universities. I have been particularly impressed by how it has also helped us develop the next generation of highly skilled researchers in the UK and I look forward to the next phase of the partnership.
Professor Mark Jefferies, Chief of University Research Liaison at Rolls-Royce

The conclusion of the Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership was celebrated at the University of Nottingham on 26 April, with more than 130 representatives from across Europe in attendance. The partnership now evolves into a new phase as “The Mechanical Excellence Partnership”.

A range of new projects and proposals are in the pipeline, and many have already been secured, including HEAVEN, part of Clean Aviation, which will utilise integrated research to improve the efficiency of gas turbines further by taking advance of net zero carbon fuels, such as hydrogen, to improve efficiency and reduce energy wastage.

For more information, please visit:

Story credits

More information is available from Rebecca Shaw, G2TRC and Transmissions UTC Project Manager, at, or; Danielle Hall, Media Relations Manager at the University of Nottingham, at or 0115 846 7156.     

About the Faculty of Engineering

Made up of six departments – Architecture and Built Environment, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering and Foundation Engineering and Physical Sciences – the university’s Faculty of Engineering is home to more than 5,600 students and 800 staff.

The faculty, which has educated engineers and architects for more than 140 years, was the first in the country to be accredited with an Athena SWAN Gold Award for excellence in advancing gender equality across higher education and research and is home to multiple state-of-the-art facilities, including the recently opened £40m Power Electronics and Machines Centre (PEMC).

With research at its heart, 21 research groups are undertaking pioneering projects for a sustainable future across several themes – including net zero transport, sustainable energies and the built environment, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare technologies – and has delivered a positive impact in more than 20 countries. Within those countries, the faculty’s research has supported 500 companies and three governments – that have changed their strategies as a result of its research – and has also directly created jobs for around 3,000 people across the world.

Danielle Hall - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Engineering
Phone: 0115 846 7156

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

More news…

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798