New funds for manufacturing research

Posted on 23 Sep 2014 by Victoria Fitzgerald

Two major funding programmes have been announced at the 3rd EPSRC Manufacturing the Future Conference.

The first calls for applications to a £20m fund for two multidisciplinary research hubs that will address long-term challenges facing manufacturing industries related to commercialising early stage research. The funding will be available for the hubs to operate over a seven year period.

The other programme will announce a series of new Fellowships for the Future of Manufacturing. The fellowships will provide senior researchers with an opportunity to spend time responding to the challenges set out in the Manufacturing Foresight report.

EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £800 million a year in a broad range of subjects.

Its annual event aims to unite researchers, government agencies and manufacturing businesses to explore the future of manufacturing.

The event included contributions from leading academic researchers in topics vital to future manufacturing, such as advanced materials, graphene engineering, sustainable feedstocks, informatics and design technologies.

Government’s chief scientific adviser, Professor Sir Mark Walport will address the plenary session of the conference. Speaking in advance of the conference, he said: “Manufacturing in 2050 will look very different from today, and will be virtually unrecognisable from that of 30 years ago.

“In order for the UK to be competitive in globalised markets, we need to be at the leading edge of innovative technologies.

“The new EPSRC fellowships will fund excellent researchers working on the technologies highlighted in the Foresight report on the Future of Manufacturing such as the internet of things, advanced materials, and robotics.”

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s chief executive, said: “This conference is the premier event in manufacturing research and at the leading edge of science and engineering for the sector.

“EPSRC is pleased to be drawing the academic community and manufacturing industries together to learn from each other, form new collaborations and map out how we can work together for the benefit of science and the economy.”