National Infrastructure Laboratory

National Infrastructure Laboratory

Located at the University of Southampton’s Boldrewood Innovation Campus, the aim of the National Infrastructure Laboratory is to find new and innovative ways to improve the efficiency of maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure as well as developing more cost-effective ways of designing and constructing new infrastructure.

The NIL hosts five major laboratories as well as >100 academics and researchers across the civil engineering disciplines.

The largest facility in the NIL is the Large Structures and Testing Laboratory, which hosts single and double-storey facilities for testing structures, components and materials at a range of scales. Through parallel EPSRC funding, the LSTL hosts data-rich structural testing, using multi-axis actuation and advanced image analysis techniques to detect system behaviour. Adjacent to the LSTL is the 300m2 Testing and Structures Research Laboratory (TSRL), which hosts a range of material testing apparatus, as well as facilities for composites manufacturing.

Geotechnical engineering is supported by the 200 m2 geomechanics laboratory, which hosts a range of soil element testing facilities, as well as the 6m-diameter beam centrifuge facility. The centrifuge allows accelerated testing of ground-structure-environment interactions at small scale, with applications across civil, coastal and offshore engineering.
The Energy Laboratory hosts research into renewable generation and urban energy performance. The laboratory forms a test bed for field instrumentation systems, which we deploy to explore socio-technical aspects of energy in the urban environment.
Together, these laboratories allow testing of structures, components and materials at a range of scales allowing the long-term behaviour of infrastructure to be simulated and observed.

The NIL has a strong focus on infrastructure for transport and energy, as well as liveable cities and marine and maritime systems, which align with Southampton’s wider strengths.
With these brand new laboratories, and as host to one of the UK’s largest civil engineering departments, the NIL forms a major node for UK and international collaborations through UKCRIC.

The NIL facility was opened in September 2019 by Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail.


Who can use the facility Functions/facilities available

Industry (e.g. rail and offshore engineering industry, areospace, marine, energy etc.)

Lab facilities

University researchers in collaboration

Lab facilities, study space

PhD Studentships

Lab facilities, study space

Facility Highlights

  • £46m investment by UKCRIC and the University of Southampton
  • Large Structures Testing Laboratory (LSTL) with a 30 x 15m strongfloor
  • 6m diameter Geotechnical Centrifuge for accelerated geosystems testing
  • Testing and Structures Research Laboratory (TSRL) for materials testing and composite manufacturing
  • Geomechanics Laboratory for soil element testing
  • Energy Laboratory for renewables and urban energy system testing
  • A designated informal learning space and meeting rooms

Find out more

Visit site

Contact Andrew Robinson,,

Watch the National Infrastructure Laboratory presentation or download the slides as a PDF.