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Formation 1983
Legal status Not for profit company
Purpose Membership association for the engineering analysis and simulation community
  • Hamilton, UK
Region served
Industry, Academia, Vendors
Chief Executive
Tim Morris
Website NAFEMS

NAFEMS is an independent, not-for-profit membership association that sets and maintains standards in computer-aided engineering.NAFEMS is the only independent association dedicated to FEA and CFD worldwide.

NAFEMS provides 'best practice' information specifically for those involved in FEA, CFD and CAE. Members of NAFEMS receive discounted access to industry-recognised training programs, independent events and publications.


Now an international organisation owned by its subscribing members, NAFEMS was founded at the UK's National Engineering Laboratory as the National Agency for Finite Element Methods and Standards, at a time when the increasing use of FEA by inexperienced users was giving cause for concern.[citation needed]


By the late 1970s and early 1980s, as computing power became more widely available, increasingly industry was starting to solve practical engineering problems using finite element analysis techniques.

There was however considerable concern that the accuracy of the methods, and software implementations, required to be verified in order to allow the results to be effectively used.

Following extensive lobbying, by industry and academia, the UK Government's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) set up, and funded, a project within the National Engineering Laboratory (NEL), based in East Kilbride, Scotland, to investigate the issues.

As a result the National Agency for Finite Element Methods and Standards, quickly shortened to the acronym NAFEMS, was founded as a special interest group in 1983 with a specific objective namely:

"To promote the safe and reliable use of finite element and related technology"[citation needed]

At the time when this mission statement was written, the engineering community was concerned primarily with the accuracy of stress analysis codes, which were predominantly based on the finite element method. The initial efforts concentrated on developing standard 'Benchmarks' against which codes could be tested. NAFEMS published the results of these Benchmarks for a variety of codes and the software industry responded by adopting these tests as a method of improving and verifying the accuracy of codes.

In parallel with these activities the need for education & training materials was also quickly recognized. As a result NAFEMS commissioned a number of textbooks and detailed technical reports in areas where information was felt either to be essential or simply lacking. These texts were, and continue to be, produced for NAFEMS under contract from experts in the field.

One of the important features of NAFEMS texts, which quickly earned them a high reputation, was that each text underwent a rigorous examination and critique, by the experts sitting on the NAFEMS technical working groups, which commissioned the work.

Building a library[edit]

As each new text became available the members of NAFEMS, who in conjunction with the DTI had effectively funded the work, were automatically sent free copies of these texts as a benefit of membership. This built up a large library of reference materials, which continue to be available to new members.

The early work of NAFEMS established Awareness Seminars as excellent vehicles for networking and effective sharing of information. A key feature of these seminars was the wide cross-section of industries represented, thus providing outstanding technology transfer opportunities. In time a bi-annual international conference, which is today held in the highest esteem, was also established to expand networking to a global scale.

In order to keep engineers abreast of the latest developments in the Analysis World the quarterly magazine BENCHmark was launched by NAFEMS in July 1987.

Independence for NAFEMS[edit]

After seven years of seed funding by the UK government, and with the support of its industrial members, the decision was taken to launch NAFEMS Ltd as an independent not-for-profit company, owned by its members in 1990.

Membership continues to grow, now exceeding 1000 corporate members in over 30 different countries. Regional Steering Groups are active in the UK, Germany, North America, Italy, France, Iberia and the Nordic Regions, and these groups co-ordinate local activities and interaction with members.

Global reach[edit]

Today, NAFEMS has offices in many locations around the world. Currently, there are several regional offices supporting the activities of particular regions, including:

  • India
  • UK - England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales
  • DACH - Germany, Austria, Switzerland & Nordic Countries
  • France
  • North America - United States and Canada
  • Iberia - Spain and Portugal
  • Italy
  • Plus several others in development

Working Groups[edit]

The technical areas of NAFEMS are coordinated by a number of specialist working groups, drawn exclusively from the NAFEMS membership. These working groups identify areas of interest to the analysis community that require new educational materials to be developed. This process is based on a combination of the results of surveys and the personal knowledge of the committee members.

An important feature of the NAFEMS publications which are subsequently produced, is that each text undergoes a rigorous examination and critique by the experts sitting on the NAFEMS technical working groups which commissioned the work. These working groups draw together a potent blend of leading academic researchers, engineering practitioners and software vendors giving a unique insight and perspective into the problem area being scrutinized.

Increasingly, working groups are becoming multi-national in their make up. From time to time, some groups are formed on a short-term basis to address specific issues with experts drawn from the most appropriate technical areas for the duration of the project.

Each of the chairmen of the technical working groups and the regional steering groups provide an overview of priorities and input to the future deliverables plan and the budgeting process for commissioning new documentation.

NAFEMS Working Groups:

  • analysis management
  • CAD CAE integration
  • composites
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • computational structural mechanics
  • dynamics and testing
  • education and training
  • geotechnics
  • high performance computing
  • multi body dynamics
  • multiphysics
  • stochastics
  • simulation data management
  • technical liaison group

External links[edit]