Thales and its university partners have given a rare glimpse into the future of technology with its first academic showcase at Reading, displaying new concepts in space propulsion, cyber security, autonomous vehicles, applications of machine learning techniques and advanced materials for new generations of submarine sonar systems.

As a global technology giant, Thales Group invests in long term academic research partnerships with universities across the world to ensure its expertise and customer-focussed technologies remain cutting edge.

Partners from 22 leading UK universities attended, along with the 43 PhD doctoral students Thales is currently sponsoring. The event was the first time Thales has celebrated its academic partnerships since Prime Minister Theresa May opened its state-of-the-art headquarters and innovation centre at Green Park earlier this year.

Thales UK is involved with a total of more than £160M of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded research and doctoral training. The Council is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK and provides the vital underpinning funding for industry sponsored research in universities such as was on display at the event.

Green Park promotes Thales’s emphasis on fostering innovation, being one of the company’s five global centres specifically designed to focus on research and technology – spending around £70m annually in the UK in this area.

Thales UK’s Chief Scientist Matt Ball said: “We partner with a wide range of academic institutions, research institutes and catapults on many different areas of research that are crucial to the future growth and profitability of our business.

“It is access to this world class talent that enables us to maintain a leading position in our future product and service offering to our customers.”

“We held this event to bring together our sponsored PhD scientists and engineers to celebrate the fantastic range of deep research topics that we are engaged in – covering topics as diverse as Advanced Materials, Cyber Security and Satellite Propulsion.

“The day provided a great opportunity for the students and supervisors to get to know Thales better and network with our technical community and for Thales to gain a wider insight into the portfolio of over 40 PhD projects we are sponsoring.

“We brought everyone together at our new Research, Technology and Innovation Centre as part of a refreshed approach to engaging with our PhD cohort – these projects are essential for us to maintain access to a crucial network of not only highly talented researchers but the full academic capability that supports their research.

“It is access to this world class talent that enables us to maintain a leading position in our future product and service offering to our customers.”

The universities included Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cranfield, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Imperial College, Leeds, London School of Economics, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Queen’s University Belfast, Reading, Sheffield, Southampton, Strathclyde, Surrey, Ulster, Uni of South Wales and Warwick.