BAE Systems is to establish four new university partnerships in the field of maritime engineering, worth at least £5m over the next five years.

Marking the official launch of the scheme, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Heriot-Watt University, with a further three university partners to be named over the next 12 months.

The collaborations will include investment in long-term research projects, as well as programmes to apply new solutions to the design, build and support of naval ships and their engineering systems.

Under the agreements, BAE Systems will provide industrial placements for students and guest lecturers.