EPSRC commits £15m for formulation manufacturing research

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced a raft of new research projects, all of which will share £15m in grants.

In total, seven projects – involving researchers at 16 universities across the UK and more than 40 industrial and academic partners – will share £15m in grants that cover a wide range of research.

All of the projects aim to improve the complex formulation processes used to manufacture products such as toothpastes; inhalers; films that coat solar cells, and pharmaceuticals.

One team of researchers, based at the University of Nottingham, will explore how new formulations of materials can be used in 3D printing and aims to establish a series of libraries that list material combinations that industry can use in different types of printing.

Another group, at the University of Leicester, will work to develop a Virtual Formulation Laboratory that will predict how different formulations and changes in their composition will affect how they perform in the real world.

Professor Philip Nelson, chief executive, EPSRC
Professor Philip Nelson, chief executive, EPSRC.

It is hoped that the lab will be used widely in the development process of every new formulated powder product in food, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals.

Commenting on the grants, Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC chief executive, said: “Formulation science is a highly complex area that combines expertise from different disciplines from maths to chemistry.

“For many people these processes are invisible and possibly of little interest to them, but they impact on their lives every day. These grants are going to help a wide range of industries that use formulation processes and continue to make the UK a productive nation.”

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