Functional Materials research gets £20 million boost from EPSRC

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Metallic spheres floating against a grey background

Ten new research projects that will advance the UK's manufacturing capability, develop new and exciting functional materials, and accelerate the translation of the science of functional materials through to application were announced today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The projects will include:

  • developing thin-film materials and novel manufacturing methods for wearable technology;
  • improving the mass production of carbon nanotube materials;
  • advanced manufacturing of nanoparticles for healthcare applications
  • revolutionising the manufacture and use of specialised glass (chalcogenides);
  • exploiting the potential of flexible perovskite photovoltaics that will reduce costs and improve performance of solar cell technology;
  • developing the materials needed for the new class of photonic integrated circuits for use in communications, sensors, imaging and lighting;
  • developing advanced fabrication processes for Gallium Nitride and related materials, for the UK's emerging manufacturing industries

Developed in response to the Manufacturing Advanced Functional Materials (MAFuMa) call issued by EPSRC in February 2014, the projects include research programmes and strategic equipment and will be led by the universities of Bath, Cambridge, Oxford, Leeds, Southampton, UCL (University College London) and Bangor University.

Overall seventeen universities are involved and, combined with universities' contributions and those from industry partners, the total value of these projects is £32.1 million.

Welcoming the announcement Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said: Working with academia and industry to support game-changing manufacturing projects like these is at the heart of the Government's industrial strategy. By supporting the jump from the manufacturing lab to the market place, we are driving innovation, creating valuable new jobs and delivering economic growth that will secure the UK's global leadership for decades to come.

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's CEO, said: These grants for Functional Materials research will take advantage of the excellent capability that exists across the UK. The level of partnership between universities and industry means they are well positioned to advance the exploitation of the knowledge and discoveries of our pioneering scientists and engineers. These are really exciting projects that can add to the long term prosperity of our country.

Notes for Editors:

Details of successful Manufacturing Advanced Functional Materials (MAFuMa) projects:

Project Title/Grant Principal Investigator Lead Organisation Co-Investigator Organisations Industrial Partners Total fEC Value

Novel manufacturing methods for functional electronic textiles

EP/M015149/1

Professor Stephen Beeby

University of Southampton

Southampton; Nottingham Trent

Centre for Process Innovation; Plessey, BSN Medical; International Automotive Components, Stretchline, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine; Speedo; Medicity; Urgo Ltd; DSTL

£2.8m

Wearable and flexible technologies enabled by advanced thin-film manufacture and metrology

Professor Harish Bhaskaran

University of Oxford

University of Exeter;

University of Southampton; University of Oxford

Sharp Labs; Creaphys; Kurt Lesker Co Ltd; DSTL; Oxford Instruments; BASF; Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; University of Pennsylvania

£3.1m

Advanced Nanotube Application and Manufacturing Initiative (ANAM initiative)

Professor Norman Fleck

University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge; University of Ulster

Alphasense, Thin Film Solutions, Sheilding, Ricardo, Q-Flo, Johnson Matthey, Goodyear, Dyson, Eaton, Bombardier, BAE Systems, Hexcel, Integrated

Materials Technology

£3.6m

Advanced Flow Technology for Healthcare Materials Manufacturing

Professor Asterios Gavriilidis

UCL

UCL; Brunel

BB international; CMAC; Centre for Process Innovation; KTN; NPL; Resonant Circuits, MICA Biosystems ltd

£3.2m

Manufacturing and Application of Next Generation Chalcogenides

Professor Daniel Hewak

University of Southampton

Southampton; Exeter; Cambridge; Heriot-Watt; Oxford

Fibrecore; Glass Technology Services; Lenton; M-Squared Lasers; Samsung Electronics; Plastic Logic; SEPNET; Oxford Instruments; Gooch & Housgo; National Instruments Corp (UK); Chell Instruments; NPL; Ilika; Qioptiq; Seagate technology; DSTL.

£3.1m

Self-assembling Perovskite Absorbers - Cells Engineered into Modules (SPACE-Modules)

Professor Peter Holliman

Bangor University

Swansea, Oxford

G24 Power Ltd; BIPVCo.

£3.2m

Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation- Seamless Integration of Functional Materials for Advanced Photonics (SeaMatics)

Professor Gin Jose

University of Leeds

Leeds; Cambridge; York; Sheffield

Xyratex Technology Ltd; Glucosense Diagnostics; Product Evolution Ltd; Dow Corning LTd; DSTL; Glass Technology Services Ltd; Gooch and Housego;PVD products; Semtech Corporation; Compound Semiconductor Tech Global Ltd; IQE Silicon Compounds Ltd.

£3.1m

Manufacturing of nano-engineered III-nitride semiconductors

Dr Philip Shields

University of Bath

Bath; Sheffield; Bristol; Strathclyde

Plessey; Seren Photonics; Lumerical Solutions;CNRS-CRHEA; NuNano; CIP Technologies; Tyndall National Institute; LayTec UK Ltd; Compound Semiconductor Tech Global Ltd; NMI; EV Group

£3.0m

Strategic Equipment Project Title

Principal Investigator

Organisation

Total Full Economic Cost value

 

Pilot Manufacturing with Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation (ULPI)

Professor Gin Jose

University of Leeds

£1.3 million

 

Manufacturing of nano-engineered III-N semiconductors

Dr Philip Shields

University of Bath

£ 0.5 million

 

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800m 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 88-14