Public Release: 

Functional materials research gets £20 million boost from EPSRC

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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:Novel manufacturing methods for functional electronic textiles

Principal Investigator:Professor Stephen Beeby

Lead Organisation:University of Southampton

Co-Investigator Organisations: Southampton; Nottingham Trent

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

Total FEC Value:£2.8m

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

Principal Investigator :Professor Harish Bhaskaran

Lead Organisation:University of Oxford

Co-Investigator Organisations:University of Exeter; University of Southampton; University of Oxford

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

Total FEC Value: £3.1m

Project Title: Advanced Nanotube Application and Manufacturing Initiative (ANAM initiative)

Principal Investigator:Professor Norman Fleck

Lead Organisation:University of Cambridge

Co-Investigator Organisations:University of Cambridge; University of Ulster

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

Total FEC Value: £3.6m

Project Title: Advanced Flow Technology for Healthcare Materials Manufacturing

Principal Investigator:Professor Asterios Gavriilidis

Lead Organisation:UCL

Co-Investigator Organisations:UCL; Brunel

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

Total FEC Value:£3.2m

Project Title: Manufacturing and Application of Next Generation Chalcogenides

Principal Investigator:Professor Daniel Hewak

Lead Organisation:University of Southampton

Southampton; Exeter; Cambridge; Heriot-Watt; Oxford

Industrial Partners: 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.

Total FEC Value: £3.1m

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

Principal Investigator:Professor Peter Holliman

Lead Organisation:Bangor University

Co-Investigator Organisations:Swansea, Oxford

G24 Power Ltd; BIPVCo.

Total FEC Value: £3.2m

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

Principal Investigator:Professor Gin Jose

Lead Organisation:University of Leeds

Leeds; Cambridge; York; Sheffield

Industrial Partners: 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.

Total FEC Value: £3.1m

Project Title : Manufacturing of nano-engineered III-nitride semiconductors

Principal Investigator:Dr Philip Shields

Lead Organisation:University of Bath

Co-Investigator Organisations:Bath; Sheffield; Bristol; Strathclyde

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

Total FEC Value: £3.0m

Strategic Equipment Project Title: Pilot Manufacturing with Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation (ULPI)

Principal Investigator: Professor Gin Jose

Organisation:University of Leeds

Total Full Economic Cost value: £1.3 million

Strategic Equipment Project Title: Manufacturing of nano-engineered III-N semiconductors

Principal Investigator: Dr Philip Shields

Organisation: University of Bath

Total Full Economic Cost value: £ 0.5 million

For further information please contact the EPSRC Press Office on 0173 444 404 or email pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk

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.

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