Most of Thales’s business activities are technology intensive, making innovation a strategic priority and the driving force behind the long-term development of the company. To deliver the technology and knowledge required for such a diverse company, Thales takes a global perspective as it looks to harness the best academia can offer and given the strength of its academic research base, the UK is in a good position to secure some of this investment.
Thales in the UK has longstanding and successful engagements with around 30 UK universities. The technology developed from these partnerships is deployed in environments spanning from the bottom of the ocean to the extremes of the solar system and everywhere in between.
However, as the pace of technological change continues to accelerate and with high-tech products and services across a diverse range of highly competitive, high value markets including Aerospace, Space, Transportation, Defence and Security, Thales has recognised the need to be able to respond quickly in a more coordinated manner to develop new concepts and push the boundaries of its technology.
As part of this, the company is taking steps to streamline the process of building long-term, strategic research partnerships with universities, focused around its core global technical priorities. Thales aims to identify and exploit a broad range and scope of innovation across its business to drive profitability and sustainable growth. Fundamental to this is the ability to understand emerging technologies, through its partnerships with academia.
This has resulted in a new framework for university partnerships being created for the UK business, with a small number of top level strategic university partners being identified.
The first of these is the University of Bristol. They and Thales Group signed a Strategic Agreement to collaborate in research and education activity. The agreement strengthens an existing relationship, where Thales has worked with Bristol for 20 years on several joint UK and European Union based research projects, whilst supporting over 15 doctoral students.
Working with the University’s Departments of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Computer Science and the Systems Engineering Centre, Thales will look to develop a programme of work around Security, Communications, Sensors, Autonomy and Complex Systems. The collaboration will continue to be a key relationship for Thales in the years to come with a focus on the key challenges that confront modern engineering teaching and technology research, setting out a framework for interdisciplinary working that organises state-of-the-art integrative research, built around a set of Thales use cases.
A core part of this Strategic Agreement, will be focused on engagement between University students and Thales employees via mentoring, internships, guest lectures, and industrial research projects. The strategic agreement is an indicator of a truly trusted partner which allows the sharing of long term corporate and university strategy for early identification of opportunities for co-investment and the fact that it is signed at Thales Group level means that any Thales entity across the globe can access the terms of the agreement which makes this a truly global partnership.