Research in engineering
Engineering at Heriot-Watt University takes a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing contemporary engineering challenges in partnership with many sectors of industry across the globe. Our full research portfolio covers, civil, architectural, structural, electrical, electronic, computer, mechanical, chemical, environmental and petroleum engineering.
World leading research in Engineering is conducted within multiple Schools and Research Institutes at Heriot-Watt University, while all form part of the Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering and Mathematics (ERPem), a pioneering Scottish research pooling partnership created in 2004 between Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities.
School of Engineering & Physical Sciences (EPS)
Research within our School of Engineering & Physical Sciences is managed within five Research Institutes. Expert teams with backgrounds in electronic, electrical, computer, mechanical and chemical engineering carry out research on advanced materials, nano-scale structures, microsystems, robotics, intelligent systems, sensors, signal and image processing, digital tools, lasers and photonics, renewable energy, novel chemical and bio-reactors through to larger scale crystallisation, developing world class solutions to meet industry needs.
School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS)
Research within our School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) is managed within three Research Institutes. Our engineering research within the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment encompasses civil, structural, architectural and environmental engineering embracing challenges posed by climate change, sustainable development, infrastructure, personal and national security. Research is conducted in close relationships with the construction, building services, transport, renewable energy, water resources and flood risk sectors.
Planning and urban design are fundamental to shaping our cities and towns and have a pivotal role in achieving important development objectives, such as a wealthier and fairer, healthier and safer society. The mission of the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design is to achieve greater use of design quality assessment tools relevant to buildings, infrastructure, public spaces and places by advancing scientific understanding in architectural engineering, construction management and planning.
The school also incorporates the International Centre for Island Technology co-located with the European Marine Energy Centre in Stromness, Orkney.
Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE)
Research in our specialist postgraduate Institute of Petroleum Engineering is a multi-disciplinary activity encompassing a range of research areas across engineering and geosciences, including geo-mechanics and rock physics, hydrates, hydrocarbon recovery, production chemistry, reservoir engineering and uncertainty quantification. The Institute works closely with all of the major oil and gas multinationals via Joint Industry partnerships (JIP).
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences (MACS)
Mathematics and computer science collaborate extensively with engineering disciplines, applying, for instance, Bayesian methods to problems arising in laser imaging and failure of drainage systems.
Focus on industry
Our approach to research intimately links fundamental cutting-edge advances in engineering with applied research in a two-way knowledge exchange with industry. The impact of our engineering research is felt internationally across many industry sectors, such as infrastructure and construction, transport, manufacturing, chemical and process engineering, energy generation and distribution, water resource management, environmental monitoring, wireless and wired communications, computing and autonomous systems, robotics, sensors, security monitoring, electronics and micro-electronics, defence, and medicine and health. We draw on extensive expertise, a broad knowledge base, state-of-the-art facilities, and a large network of academic and industry collaborators to be able to tackle a wide range of challenging problems and to generate practical solutions.
Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering & Mathematics (ERPem)
ERPem is a research partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh across all of engineering and with Edinburgh Napier University in civil engineering. It is dedicated to world-class research, innovation and education in engineering and mathematical science. Research Institutes within EPS, SBE and IPE align and manage their engineering research portfolios in tandem and in collaboration with related research at the Universities of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier via Joint Research Initiatives (JRI) across the ERPem partnership.
Scottish Sensors and Systems Centre (S3C)
Heriot-Watt University is a partner in S3C which has been established with support from the Scottish Funding to create world-leading collaborative research in intelligent sensor networks and systems. S3C’s role is to deliver knowledge exchange between industry and academia in order to facilitate the next generation of sensor systems for a range of end applications. The partners are the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, Robert Gordon, St Andrews, Strathclyde along with 20 industry partners.
Scottish Consortium in Integrated Micro-Photonic Systems (SCIMPS)
The Scottish Consortium in Integrated Micro-Photonic Systems is a collaborative project funded by the Scottish Funding Council, with participants from Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt and Glasgow Universities and the Institute for System Level Integration. The main objective of the initiative is to bring true micro-electronic integration and control to instrumentation based upon advanced photonics technology.