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Collaborative, academic-industry research approach for advancing systems engineering

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conference contribution
posted on 27.10.2009 by Michael Henshaw, David J. Gunton, Esmond Urwin
In contrast to many technology-based research programmes on which industry and academia may collaborate, a programme in systems engineering – a discipline which is practitioner-focused – requires a different approach to enabling exploitation of research outputs. Those outputs tend to be process, approach and methodological in nature rather than specifically tools and technologies. The NECTISE* research programme is a multi-year, industrially-led research activity focused on developing the systems of systems (SoS) techniques required for Network Enabled Capability. The research consortium includes ten UK universities working in a multi- and cross-disciplinary manner to create more agile approaches to SoS Engineering. This paper will report the integration approaches taken in this research programme and the ways in which exploitation of the research may be achieved and demonstrated. NECTISE is composed of four topic groups investigating Systems Architectures, Through Life Systems Management, Decision Support, and Control and Monitoring, together with a number of cross-cutting themes. It has been driven by industry-derived requirements, and the industry-academic interface is enabled by the transformation of the requirements into a set of research questions. The formulation of such questions will be discussed. A major integrating activity is a set of four demonstrations that take place at regular intervals through the five-year programme. The TTCP** GUIDEx*** was found to be a helpful framework in which to integrate the various component researches for demonstration. The use of scenarios as a means of experimentation and demonstration is long-established; in NECTISE, a scenario approach is taken that embraces not only the military field of operation in which NEC is realised, but also the acquisition and support enterprise that delivers capability components to the military. In this paper, the development of the scenario, its use as a demonstration vehicle, and its role in integration across the research programme will be described, together with an assessment of the extent to which such an approach may aid exploitation of research outputs. Systems approaches have been both the focus of this research programme and the mechanisms through which it is being delivered. We shall assert that a systems approach can be a significant enabler of effective industry-academic collaborative research and we shall identify the important learning that has taken place in NECTISE in this regard. * Network Enabled Capability Through Innovative Systems Engineering ** The Technical Cooperation Program *** Guide for Understanding and Implementing Defense Experimentation (GUIDEx)



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


HENSHAW, M.J.D., GUNTON, D.J. and URWIN, E.N., 2009. Collaborative, academic-industry research approach for advancing systems engineering. IN: Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference on Systems Engineering Research, 20th-23rd April 2009, Loughborough University, UK.


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This conference paper was presented at CSER 2009 and is also available at: http://cser.lboro.ac.uk/




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