Engineering design is a multidisciplinary field, operating at the intersection of science, mathematics and engineering to create functional products and processes.

Specialist products, cars, bridges, aeroplanes and buildings are all brought to fruition thanks to the close collaboration of engineering teams filled with specialist skills. Think – for example – of the amount of effort that goes into designing new running shoes, where science (podiatry and biomechanics) and engineering (shoe shape and materials) go hand-in-hand to maximise the quality of the product.

Due to the complexity and inherent challenges of the engineering process, this field leaves considerable scope for the exploration of different techniques and alternative approaches aimed at achieving improved results – whether it’s experimentation with new materials, developing more efficient processes, or creating new and improved modular-design techniques.

Nevertheless, the formation of industry best practices and the evolution of the industry as a whole is challenged by the difficulty to disseminate such knowledge, and by the volume of resources required to pursue innovative methodologies.

Enter SimBest

In this context, SimBest – a research project funded by Innovate UK – wants to be the glue that connects the industry’s dots. The project is in fact tasked with gathering and disseminating best practices in the use of simulation & modelling tools for engineering design to foster knowledge share and innovation in the field.

Co-run by NAFEMS, Alstom Power and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), SimBest aims to encourage the take-up and development of simulation tools by the UK manufacturing industry. It also wants to provide support for those SMEs whose limited resources hamper the evolution of their own knowledge-base.

To gather information on industry practices, SimBest is interviewing managers and field specialists to identify trends and different approaches to the use of simulation and modeling tools. The scope of the research is far-reaching, covering the energy, automotive, built environment, health, aeronautics, process and electronics sectors. The topics explored range from mathematical modeling to multi-physics simulation solutions to the use of advanced simulation software. Obviously, the information is gathered anonymously and won’t touch upon commercially sensitive topics.

As one would expect, the individuals contributing to the research gain from their involvement in a number of ways. SimBest participants (and the companies they work for) have the opportunity to:

  • Review their existing processes & receive specialist advice on how to maximise benefits and overcome current barriers.
  • Benchmark their performance against market standards.
  • Access an academic-driven review of the state-of-the-art in simulation tools and techniques.
  • Gain an understanding of methods adopted in other industry sectors and the potential for cross-sector exchange.

If your company uses simulation or modelling to help deliver goods or services, this is a great opportunity to share your general simulation best practices and understand your place among your collaborators and competitors. With input from academic and industrial institutions, information on cutting edge and world class methods will help your company move forwards.

For more information contact the SimBest project leaders Gino Duffett at NAFEMS on and Nigel Rix at KTN on

Don’t forget about the R&D tax credit potential

From a research & development tax credit perspective, the topics researched by SimBest constitute a prime example of qualifying R&D activity.

Innovative projects, faced by scientific or technological uncertainties and led by a team of competent professionals with specialist skills are fundamental elements of successful R&D claims. Currently, the scheme allows innovative SMEs to claim up to 33.35% of the qualifying expenditure – get in touch with ForrestBrown today to learn more about your claiming potential.


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