Durham Institute of Research, Development and Invention

The Durham Institute of Research, Development and Invention (DIRDI) is a scientific research institute established by Coltraco in partnership with Durham University and based at ORBIT NETPark, Durham. It includes within it the Centre for Underwater Acoustic Analysis (CUAA).

DIRDI is a research institute comprising undergraduates, postgraduates, and academic staff at Durham University as well as Coltraco R&D professionals. It brings together academics and industry professionals across disciplines, primarily Physicists, Engineers, Mathematicians, and Computer Scientists. In doing so, it offers an opportunity for some of the UK’s finest minds to grapple with complex problems, some of which are abstract problems of the sort Newton wrestled with, fundamental questions regarding the nature of the universe. Others are applied problems of a more “Edisonian” nature, concerned with the application of fundamental physical principles to the design and development of new technologies. Core research specialities include acoustics, electromagnetism, and information engineering.

Unlike typical research institutes, DIRDI is primarily commercially-funded. Through the rapid commercialisation of promising R&D lines, the freedom to explore fundamental science is sustained. Without the inhibitors of prescribed grant-seeking processes and the pressure to produce publishable results, DIRDI members are encouraged to pursue blue-skies, curiosity-driven research with the utmost scientific integrity. It is the faith that such research will drive world-changing, prosperity-generating innovation that enables its unconstrained funding. In the years to come DIRDI aspires to grow and nurture its members throughout their academic and commercial careers, identifying and supporting the “Newtons” and Nobel Prize winners of the future, and delivering a critical mass of new research and scholarship.


Lewis Kell, Third Year MEng Engineering student has been working with Coltraco Ultrasonics and DIRDI on their ultrasonic level research:

“Through being thrown in at the deep end of this project, I have been able to develop both my programming skills and problem-solving skills at a much greater pace than had I not, which will be greatly beneficial for my studies. The team here have been truly welcoming and have encouraged me to continually make progress; I look forward to continuing work with them.”

Xiaoyao Yin, Second Year Physics student has written a paper for DIRDI reviewing the Anisotropic Magnetoresistance Effects in Ferromagnetic Semiconductors:

“I am fascinated by research breakthroughs in the field of electromagnetism. DIRDI supports aspiring students to carry out academic research that have innovative real-world applications, and this has motivated me to apply.”

How to Join DIRDI

We are seeking brilliant Durham students with a background in STEM to join us as members of our institute. We offer paid research roles involving a part-time commitment during term-time and the holidays. Your work will support our research interests or, if you particularly inspire us, we may support your own suggestions for research.

We combine Newtonian Discovery and Edisonian Commercialisation; whether you are interested in articulating ideas mathematically and conceptually or developing innovative technologies, we provide the means to do both.
Positions are open to undergraduates and postgraduates alike in 2022. There is also the additional possibility of joining us for an 8-week paid Summer Internship and as a full-time fellow after the completion of your studies.

For those who are capable of good scholarship; who are ambitious enough to pursue discovery without arrogance; who illuminate others around them, please send applications to: [email protected]