European Commission
agence de communication Lyon


The University of Edinburgh is one of the largest and most successful universities in the UK with an international reputation as a centre of academic excellence. On a European level, traditionally the University has been very successful in participating in European Framework Programmes. The success continued during the Sixth Framework Programme with the university collaborating in some 180 projects, total award value of approximately €45M.

The BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering is a world-class fire research centre with over 40 researchers. The Centre has participated in numerous research projects including two previous EC funded Consortia (PredFireNanoand Fire Paradox) and one current, AircraftFire.

The BRE Centre brings to this project a state-of-the-art fire testing laboratory capable of providing specific diagnostics of all manner of materials and products subjected to a fire environment. The group’s expertise in providing this type of analysis will aid the success of the project. In turn, members of the group expect to further their expertise and knowledge base in this area of fire related analysis.

The team at the University of Edinburgh is a world leading organisation in establishing the response of materials and structures to fire conditions, both on large and small scales. They are currently involved in similar collaborative projects with partners such as FM Global in the USA, a European Space Agency (ESA) topical team (collaborating with NASA, Russian and Japanese space agencies), and in an on-going FP7 project titled AircraftFire.


Paolo Pironi
The BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering

The University of Edinburgh
John Muir Building
Kings Buildings
Mayfield Road
cell.: 0753 1621155

Key people involved

Dr Stephen Welch has worked in the field of fire safety engineering since joining BRE in 1996, moving to the University of Edinburgh in 2004. He has expertise in computational fire modelling using extensions of CFD-based models, including prediction of smoke movement, flame spread and toxic species, and in generalised methods for simulation of the thermal response of structures in fire (i.e. making the critical link between fire conditions and structural response). He directed work on sensor-linked modelling that lies at the heart of the FireGrid project, and has attracted a number of awards (including the HEC technology award). He has received funding from EPSRC to study the prediction of toxic species in fire (EP/E000150/1) and for furthering knowledge of modelling structural fire behaviour from sponsors including the Concrete Centre and BRE.

Paolo Pironi is a Research Associate at the University of Edinburgh (UK). He holds a BS in Physics and a MEng in Environmental Engineering from the University of Bologna (Italy), and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Edinburgh. He has conducted research on smouldering combustion for over seven years, first as a doctoral student and as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Western Ontario (Canada). Dr. Pironi was part of the core research team that developed STAR, a patented technology for the remediation of contaminated soils based on self-sustaining smouldering combustion. In 2012 he participated in the ‘Toronto Toilet’ project, an international consortium that in August 2012 won the third prize in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. He was responsible for the design and execution of the proof-of-concept experiments of a process to treat human waste based on self-sustaining smouldering combustion. More recently, he was involved in the EC funded project AircraftFire, in which he was tasked to design and conduct experiments in order to characterise the pre-ignition release of pyrolysis gases by aircraft materials.