About Us

Virtual Engineering Centre - driving digital adoption and delivering solutions across industry and the public sector since 2010.

The UK’s original Digital Engineering Impact Centre

The combination of the knowledge, experience, and world-class research we offer helps our clients explore the adoption of digital technologies to solve complex industry problems in a safe, neutral and friendly environment.

Established in 2010 by the University of Liverpool, supported by EU funding and in partnership with BAE Systems and the National Nuclear Laboratory. The Virtual Engineering Centre sits within the University’s IDEAS (Institute of Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems) and works to bridge the innovation gap between academic research and new product and process development. With our expertise and knowledge, we will work with you to address your industry challenges by applying emerging research and disruptive technologies with standard low cost digital tools.

We provide access to digital test-beds and the latest scientific infrastructure. Through our partnerships and networks, we inform future government policy in the area of applied digital technology to support future research for impact.

Pioneers in industrial digital transformation

Since 2010, we have been delivering bespoke solutions to our clients across sector using; Digital Twin, AI and Data Analytics, Advanced Visualisation, Modelling, Simulation and Robotics and Autonomous Systems technologies.

Our expertise is in the creation and integration of digital architectures and solutions that drive digital adoption and transformation that will solve industry challenges to deliver business growth.

Learn about our Expertise

VEC Timeline

Our innovation and collaboration highlights over the last 10 years


  • VEC established at Daresbury campus in partnership with the aerospace sector.
  • VEC launches the first digital engineering centre of excellence and best practice demonstrator in the North-West.


  • VEC introduces the collaborative sandpit methodology for digital innovation.


  • Creation of first digital test-bed to validate new autonomous systems software for aerospace.
  • Provides digital engineering expertise to enhance digital tools adoption across 40 North-West manufacturing organisations.


  • Development of a digital supply chain for Bentley Motors through STRIVE R&D project.
  • VEC robotics and simulation laboratory opens at Daresbury.


  • VEC supports digital skills development in industry and across schools, colleges and higher education.


  • VEC @ Liverpool established in School of Engineering, University of Liverpool.


  • Launch of VEC @Alder Hey children's hospital to support innovation in healthcare.
  • VEC awarded technical lead for nationally recognised LCR4.0 industrial digitalisation programme.
  • Launch of VEC @ London campus.


  • Strategic partnership agreement with and move to the Hartree Centre, Daresbury.
  • VEC enters the nuclear sector providing the collaborative digital framework for BEIS Digital Reactor Design programme.


  • VEC forms joint study agreement with IBM Research.
  • VEC announced as the management team for new Digital Innovation Facility at University of Liverpool.
  • LCR4 industrial digitalisation programme supports 300 Liverpool City Region manufacturing organisations.


  • VEC become founding members of IDEAS (Institute for Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems) at the University of Liverpool.
  • N-VEC, Nuclear Virtual Engineering Capability project announced.
  • VEC awarded lead partner of LCR4 Start.


  • VEC 10th anniversary.
  • New Digital Innovation Facility scheduled to open late 2020.

Access to world-class research & expertise

Our expert multi-disciplinary team includes specialists in engineering, computer science, visualisation and manufacturing technology, and is underpinned by the University of Liverpool and specialist centres of excellence.

VEC Team

Sarah Martin-Tyrrell

Senior Marketing Manager

Michael Sherratt

ICT & Digital Facilities Manager

Matt Butcher

VR & Digital Technologies Technician

Lynn Dwyer

Chief Commercial Officer

Dr Konstantin Vikhorev

Simulation Team Leader

Jonathan Willitts

Software Developer

Iain Cant

Senior Project Engineer & Visualisation Team Leader

Giuseppe Bellantuono

Software Engineer

Emma Rhodes

Marketing & Business Support Officer

David Gibson

Project Manager & Standards Officer

Dr Darren Faulke

Project Engineer

Dr Andy Levers

Executive Director

Andrew Borland

Industrial Engagement Manager

Dr Andrea Martina

Virtual Reality & Digital Technologies Specialist

Dr Ana Campos Marin

Project Engineer


Dr Mike Jump

Senior Lecturer in mechanical, Materials & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Eann Patterson

Professor of Mechanical, Materials & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Richard Koeck

Professor of Architecture

Professor Katie Atkinson

Professor of Computer Science

Dr Peter Green

Lecturer in Uncertainty and Engineering

Professor Simon Maskell

Professor of Autonomous Systems

Professor Michael Fisher

Professor of Computer Science

Our Key Partners

As part of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems (IDEAS) we have direct links with the University of Liverpool and other academic institutions in the UK and nurture long-term key partnerships with influential industry bodies and strategic partners.

As we build and develop stronger relationships, we create impact for the businesses we work with, for the university, and the UK – on both an economic and societal level.

Growth Platform is Liverpool City Region’s economic enabler and works in partnership with the VEC to support people and businesses to realise their potential and generate growth through regional initiatives such as the LCR projects.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, which works in partnership with the VEC, universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish.

XJTLU is an independent Chinese University established in partnership between the University of Liverpool and Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2006. The University has been closely involved in the development of XJTLU since its establishment, providing support in a number of areas including programme design, student exchange partnerships and professional development.

Similar in size and ambition, both CFMS and the Virtual Engineering Centre, are dedicated to the creation of a stronger national resource in digital design.  Thepartnership provides a stronger focus to deliver critical national skills and capability development in the field of digital engineering, to encourage increased investment and helping to build new collaborative opportunities across the UK.

The partnership with IBM Research has enabled joint working across multiple disciplines, faculties and institutes within the University of Liverpool. The agreement also enabled access to IBM resources for teaching and research as well as access to IBM infrastructure, facilities and expertise.

The University of Liverpool is a pre-eminent research-based university with 18,000 students pursuing over 400 programmes spanning 54 subject areas.  The VEC is underpinned by the academic excellence of the University and acts as a hub in communicating emerging research back to potential end users.

Client opinion

"The VEC helped us validate our augmented reality supply chain technology and has subsequently been a great help to us in understanding the capabilities and limitations of virtual prototyping and connected factories."

Irma Gilbert,
Connect 4.0 LTD

Irma Gilbert