Adrian Harwood

Adrian Harwood, CEng, MIET

Dr, MEng (Hons), PhD

Personal profile


Adrian joined the University as an undergraduate in 2006, completing an undergraduate master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering (MACE). During this time he worked for Rolls-Royce throughout the UK on the design of safety-critical systems including thrust reverser control for corporate aviation gas turbine engines. Having been award the prestigious Alumni Research Impact Scholarship, he completed his PhD in aero-acoustics in 2014, also at The University of Manchester, developing novel numerical methods and models associated with the scattering of acoustic waves in general environments. This research yielded a collection of practical methods for enhancing hybrid noise prediction. Adrian was awarded the ASME NCAD Best Student Paper award at Internoise 2012 for his work combining numerical conformal mapping and Green's functions to accelerate propagation approaches.

Adrian went on to work as a post-doctoral Research Associate (later Fellow) in MACE as the lead developer of the open-source LUMA (Lattice-Boltzmann @ the University of Manchester) project, a multi-grid, many-core FSI solver in C++ based on the Lattice-Boltzmann Method. LUMA became a published, open-source code in 2018 and is used in the fields of aerodynamics, bio-engineering and flow control to develop new engineering solutions. During his research career he gained extensive experience in scientific software engineering in C/C++, GPGPU programming in CUDA, OpenGL and GLSL, mid-level mobile application development in Android (Java/JNI), physical modelling and applied mathematics.

Adrian became a Lecturer in Virtual Engineering in MACE at the beginning of 2018 teaching Numerical Methods and Programming courses to all years of the undrgraduate engineering programmes. He gained his Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in the same year.

In 2019, Adrian moved become a Senior Research Software Engineer in Research IT (RIT) at The University of Manchester. He was one of five RSE leads, responsible for managing projects and people within the RSE team. Adrian set up, and led, the RIT Mobile Development Service which designs, builds and releases cross-platform mobile applications for researchers across the whole University. The service completes around a dozen projects each year using a .NET / Xamarin technology stack with a portfolio of value of around £160k. During this post he became a Chartered Engineer via the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Since 2022, Adrian has been the Head of Research Software Engineering, a department of 40 engineers and annual income streams totalling nearly £2m. The department has over 50 active projects and many more in the pipeline bringing the department portfolio to just short of 100 projects with researchers across the whole University as well as national and international collaborators.

Research interests

My research interests are centered on the combination of modelling and simulation with energy-efficient parallel computing such as GPUs and mobile devices, and incorporate interactive technologies such as Virtual Reality and other human-computer interface devices. The use of clusters of P2P-connected mobile devices to facilitate interaction, real-time simulation on a large scale is a particularly exciting avenue for virtual engineering.

Further information

Research Themes

  • Real-time Simulation
  • Engineering Visualisation and Interaction (AR/VR)
  • HPC (GPU/Many-core CPU)
  • Mobile Applications (JNI/OpenGL/GLSL)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Numerical Evaluation of Acoustic Green's Functions, The University of Manchester

Award Date: 3 Dec 2014

Master of Engineering, Aerospace Engineering with Management, The University of Manchester

Award Date: 19 Jul 2011

Areas of expertise

  • TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
  • TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
  • QA76 Computer software
  • Q Science (General)
  • QC Physics

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Aerospace Research Institute
  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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