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Second Uncertainty Quantification & Management Study Group with Industry

Background: The UQ&M SIG held its inaugural Study Group with Industry in July 2016, full write up at the bottom of this page; but in short – in three intense days researchers covering mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering and others worked with industry (Airbus, Jaguar Land Rover and Zenotech) to help tackle three real world problems.

With support from Innovate UK, the KTN and the EPRSC / ESRC CDT in Risk and Uncertainty are doing it all over again! With three new problems - full details to be announced shortly - including one on wing load target setting for aeronautics and thermo-mechanical sensitivity studies on gas turbine machinary.


Registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-second-uncertainty-quantification-and-management-study-group-with-industry-tickets-27431163348


Why UQ&M in Manufacturing? Manufacturing contributes over £6.7 tr to the global economy and the UK is a major contributor. In terms of manufacturing Gross Value Added (GVA) the UK is in the world’s to 10, generating 10% of UK GVA. UK manufacturing directly employs 2.5 million people, generates half of UK exports and accounts for three quarters of business R&D conducted in the UK [1]

Virtual design through modelling and simulation is extremely attractive for high value manufacturing. Virtual design can:

  1. Significantly speed up the development cycle (i.e. reduction of time from an idea to its implementation, that is very important for complex platforms and products), and
  2. Substitute with simulations some real-life tests necessary in many cases for approval of new materials, designs, platforms etc. [2]

When bringing a new product from conception into production, success rests on the careful management and control of risk in the face of many interacting uncertainties. Historically, chief engineers and project managers have estimated and managed risk using mostly human judgment founded upon years of experience and heritage. As the timescale from concept to commercialisation is eroding, there is decreasing time to build ‘experience and heritage’, and turnover of personnel and the cost of personnel time both mean that it is not practical to pass on all that ‘experience and heritage’ to one’s successors.

In an era of virtual design, there is an opportunity to handle uncertainty in a systematic way, and create designs robust against these uncertainties. Today’s fiercely competitive market and increasingly stringent regulatory environment is such that there is very little margin for error. Failure to understand and manage risks can result in severe financial penalties and even damage to reputation. [3]

The Problems: The problems to be tackled by the Study Group attendees will come from Industries working in the High Value Manufacturing sector. These problems (likely to be three) will be announced in due course.

Why take part in the study group?

Academics Industry
Get new problems Get new solutions
Expand research portfolio Access to highly qualified individuals
Vital contact with industry Written report
Meeting other academics from different fields      


Costs to Take Part: The majority of the Study Group is paid for by the sponsoring organization (Innovate UK), however to cover some costs, there will be a nominal registration fee of £30. This fee will cover accommodation and meals. We also ask that travel costs should be sought from attendees’ own institutions.



Write up from the First UQ&M Study Group: The Study Group focused around three industrial problems. Jaguar Land Rover, Zenotech and Airbus came with challenges and members of the UK research base were invited to attend for three days to work on them. We were also delighted to welcome Colin Armstrong, Head of International Resilienace at the Government Office for Science to give a pre-dinner talk on the Tuesday night, which stimulated a lot of interesting discussions on uncertainty and risk communication during crises such as the outbreak of an epidemic or preventing terrorism.

The purpose of the Study group was four-fold:

  1. To help companies with established UQ programmes refine their approaches,
  2. To help companies new to the field understand the benefit that UQ&M could have on their operations,
  3. To expose UK researchers to the kind of challenges UK industries wish to apply UQ&M to, and
  4. To enable a cross-fertilisation of ideas between disciplines (data scientists, statisticians, numerical analysts etc.)

“I was impressed to see the great synergy between industrialists and academics working side-by-side towards the same goal. The Study Group has given everybody who participated the fantastic opportunity to work closely with top academics in the field of UQ&M for three days in a row, and to access the very best of practice in this field.” 

- Marco de Angelis, CDT Manager, Institute for Risk and Uncertainty

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) came to the Study Group looking to address how to optimise the ride performance of a vehicle when mass property variations are taken into account, and how UQ&M could be used to minimise the number of components required to achieve the desired ride performance metrics. Jacqui Morison and Peter Newbury (JLR) outlined the challenge on the Monday morning along with the other industries; all of whom attracted a huge amount of questions and comments. A self-organised group then explored various tasks for JLR including Gaussian process modelling and optimisation (maximising the probability of meeting design specifications), visualisation, robust design and tailored model-based design of experiments.

Sanjiv Sharma from Airbus UK presented his challenge – Climb-cruise Engine Matching. Sanjiv sought UQ&M techniques that could better narrow a set of possible aircraft design configurations when uncertainty is introduced. This group explored ideas around history matching (determining input values which relate to a predetermined output range), finding key parameters of interest through global sensitivity analysis, and finding dependencies between inputs and outputs.

David Standingford, Director of Zenotech – an SME in the HPC and CFD space – posed the challenge of increasing certainty in offshore energy installations by checking the validity of CFD simulations. It was commented that a fraction reduction in damage caused by unpredicted wake effects could result in substantial cost savings for the energy industry. The Zenotech team work to clibrate the CFD model with experimental data, create metamodels for the objective function, and use Bayesian optimisation given the expensive computer execution.


  1. High Value Manufacturing Strategy 2012 – 2015, Innovate UK (2012)
  2. What are the significant trends shaping technology relevant to manufacturing, Future of Manufacturing Project: Evidence Paper 6. Foresight. Government Office for Science (2013)
  3. Uncertainty Quantification & Management in High Value Manufacturing Special Interest Group. Annual Report 2016 (2016)

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Date and time

Start Date :
End Date:
Duration :
09:00 – 17:00
Type :

Organiser details

Organiser :
KTN / Institute for Risk and Uncertainty

Address details

Venue :
Institute for Risk and Uncertainty
Address : 

University of Liverpool

The Chadwick Building


United Kingdom

L69 7ZF

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