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This paper presents the experiences gained from ongoing research collaboration between the School of Computer Engineering at Nanyang Technological University and the Southampton e-Science centre at the University of Southampton using a service-oriented approach for complex engineering design optimisation. The service-oriented approach enables programmatic collaboration to be realized while maintaining the autonomy of individual codes at the different institutes and organizations. In the current work, a genetic algorithm optimisation logic implemented as a grid service at Southampton is used to drive the design search process, while the aerodynamic analysis code located in Singapore is used to evaluate the objective function of the design points. Experience gathered from the current study on airfoil shape optimisation is valuable for establishing effective, efficient and customised programmatic links between institutions to solve complicated engineering design problems.