TWI signs Memorandum of Understanding with Saudi Aramco


TWI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as part of a wider collaboration between the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, commonly known as Aramco, and British business. The MoU was one of several agreements forged at the UK-Saudi CEO Forum, which was held in London on 8 March 2018 and aimed to promote bilateral business and cooperation between the two countries.
The UK-Saudi CEO Forum coincided with HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the UK. Saudi Arabia is keen to promote that it is open to a wide range of future business opportunities, with at least $2.1 billion of investment earmarked for projects ranging from healthcare to real estate.

An MoU is an agreement between two or more parties outlining the terms and details of an understanding, including the requirements and responsibilities of each party. It is generally the first stage in the formulation of a more formal contract. Aside from the agreement with TWI, Aramco also signed MoUs with Royal Dutch Shell, Imperial College London and The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).

Christoph Wiesner, TWI Chief Executive, said: “The Memorandum of Understanding is an important first step to build a strategic collaborative relationship between TWI and Aramco. It demonstrates our continued determination to seek deeper relationships and new ventures with key industrial members to exploit TWI’s technology advances for industry.”

The MoU between TWI and Aramco sets plans in motion to establish a multi-stakeholder Non-Metallic Innovation Centre (NIC) under the umbrella of the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC), which is a partnership between TWI and leading academic institutions, research centres and businesses.

Based at TWI at Granta Park in Cambridge, NIC will conduct a research programme that covers Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1-9, with partners drawn from leading academic institutions, research centres, oil & gas companies and composite materials manufacturers.

The nine Innovation Centres already established by NSIRC and TWI strive to achieve technological excellence and the advancement of research to meet socio-economic and environmental challenges. They are connected with industry to share research and technological capabilities, while undertaking combined research programmes that develop future technologies and highly-skilled engineers in selected research fields.

Following the success of its Innovation Centres, Aramco, along with TWI and NSIRC, came together to form a Private Technology Innovation Partnership (PTIP). The collaboration will connect Aramco with composites manufacturers, academic institutions and industrial partners wanting to make an impact on the oil & gas industry and beyond.

As centres for research and development, PTIPs work with private technology organisations to commercialise technology with sponsors and their supply chain. They also foster home-grown innovation and work closely with customers to address their technology priorities. The aims of PTIPs are to boost entrepreneurship, grow the knowledge-based economy, increase technology exports, promote innovation and strengthen talent bases through strong academia-industry linkages.

Professor Tat-Hean Gan, NIC Programme Director, said: “NSIRC combines academia and industry so that there is an unbroken chain between universities producing high-level research and industries that require research for real-world applications. By joining with Aramco to set up NIC, we can be assured of producing industry-led, high-level research, with a complete supply chain from research & development (R&D) to production.”

From the beginning, the NIC will be an integral part of the Innovation Network, providing world-leading research into non-metallic structures, to the benefit of Aramco and the advance of technologies within the greater industry.