Willetts announces new Engineering Fellowships for Growth

A robotic hand holding a seedling between its index finger and thumb.

Leading academics from ten UK universities have been awarded a total of £13 million in Fellowship grants to maintain the UK’s research leadership in three areas identified as Great British Technologies; Advanced Materials, Robotic and Autonomous Systems, and Synthetic Biology.

Announcing the investment today Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts said: These Fellowships will keep the UK ahead in fields identified as part of the eight Great Technologies with the potential to propel UK growth. We champion and support our leading academics in these areas to realise our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to do and apply science.

The fellowship awards range between £804,000 and £1,250,000 and will fund work over a five year period.

Advanced Materials projects include work to explore how semi-conducting materials can be used in electronic devices like mobile phones without the need to cool them to very low temperatures, and research that uses imaging techniques to understand how metals behave during solidification and casting.

In Robotics, researchers at the University of Glasgow will develop tactile synthetic skin that can be printed and used with robots to work in healthcare.

Synthetic Biology projects include work investigating how to apply control engineering techniques - like those we use every day in thermostats, cars, planes - to biologically based parts such as cells. As well as other projects investigating: the creation of programmable functional biomaterials eg fabrics that are capable of self-cleaning, and developing methods for renewable energy.

Professor Philip Nelson EPSRC’s Chief Executive said: To provide opportunities for growth, both scientific and economic, it is vital that the UK has a steady supply of academic talent in the physical sciences and engineering. To do this we must support academics throughout their careers. These Fellowships will mean we are retaining the leaders we need to maintain our position in Synthetic Biology, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, and Advanced Materials.

Details of Fellowships for Growth

  • EP/M002411/1 - Professor T. Ashley - University of Warwick
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Narrow Band-gap Semiconductors for Integrated Sensing and Communications

  • EP/M002462/1 - Professor A.J. Bell - University of Leeds
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Polar Materials for Additive Manufacturing

  • EP/M002209/1 - Professor R. Williams - University of Liverpool
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Building Advanced Materials to Treat Vision Loss

  • EP/M002241/1 - Dr C.M. Gourlay - Imperial College London
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Solidification Processing of Alloys for Sustainable Manufacturing

  • EP/M002500/1 - Dr S.T. Pinho - Imperial College London
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Next Generation of Lightweight Composites - How Far Can We Go?

  • EP/M002438/1 - Dr M.F. Craciun - University of Exeter
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Imperceptible smart coatings based on atomically thin materials

  • EP/M002322/1 - Dr H.A. Kim - University of Bath
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth - Materials by Design for Impact in Aerospace Engineering

  • EP/M002489/1 - Dr RS Trask - University of Bristol
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth - Morphogenesis Manufacturing: Smart Materials with Programmed Transformations

  • EP/M002527/1 - R. Dahiya - University of Glasgow
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Printable Tactile Skin

  • EP/M002187/1 - Dr G.V. Stan - Imperial College London
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Systems and Control Engineering Framework for Robust and Efficient Synthetic Biology

  • EP/M002306/1 - Dr T. Ellis - Imperial College London
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Advanced Synthetic Biology Measurement to Enable Programmable Functional Biomaterials

  • EP/M002454/1 - Professor A. Papachristodoulou - University of Oxford
    Engineering Fellowships For Growth: Designing Feedback Control in Biology for Robustness and Scalability

  • EP/M002403/1 - Dr W. Huang - University of Sheffield
    Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Development of SimCells as building blocks for synthetic biology

Notes for editors

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The EPSRC is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Reference: PN 35-14