Fracture mechanics expert appointed Visiting Professor at leading university


An industrial research engineer specialising in the practical application of fracture mechanics to safety-critical engineering structures has been appointed Visiting Professor in Integrity Management at the University of Bristol.  

Dr Isabel Hadley, a TWI Technology Fellow, will work alongside academic staff at the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering to develop and deliver a master’s-level course focusing on the integrity management of safety-critical structures. The course will be aimed at advanced undergraduate and masters students studying degrees in mechanical, civil, nuclear and aerospace engineering.

Dr Hadley said: “After many years of being involved in the delivery of engineering services to industry, I am very conscious of the need for a highly-educated workforce to meet the engineering challenges of the future. I am looking forward to working with the team at the University of Bristol and playing my part by enhancing the students’ understanding of industry’s needs and priorities.”

As well as bringing valuable insight to TWI’s commercial activities, Dr Hadley, a TWI Technology Fellow since 2012, chairs the committee that manages BS 7910, the UK’s code of practice for assessing the acceptability of flaws in metallic structures.

While continuing her role at TWI, Isabel will travel frequently to the University of Bristol over the next three years, which last year was ranked among the top 40 universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings. It has a particularly excellent reputation for engineering research, 93% of which was judged in 2014 to be either ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Isabel’s visiting professorship has received three years of funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering, as part of an initiative to transfer expert knowledge from industry into higher education. The scheme aims to enhance student learning, increase students’ employability and skills and foster long-term collaboration between industry and academia.

The National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC), based at TWI, also promotes close working between higher education and industry. Students at NSIRC conduct research in an industry environment, helping to ensure that their research is directed by industrial need and that they gain commercial experience to enhance their employability. It is hoped that Isabel’s visiting professorship will open the door to further collaboration between NSIRC and the University of Bristol.

The visiting professorship scheme, under which Isabel will join the University of Bristol until mid-2019, was initiated by the late Professor David Smith. Professor Smith held the Royal Academy of Engineering Chair at the University of Bristol until his untimely passing in November 2015.