University to benefit from Government award of £85 million to composites, robotics and energy storage research
23 July 2013
The University of Bristol is one of more than 20 universities across the UK who will benefit from a Government award of £85 million to support and strengthen existing research in the areas of composites, robotics and energy storage.
The University of Bristol is one of more than 20 universities across the UK who will benefit from the announcement to support and strengthen existing research in the areas of Advanced Materials, Grid-scale energy storage and Robotics and Autonomous systems.
Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, said: “For Britain to get ahead in the global race we have to back emerging technologies and ensure our universities have the latest equipment. This capital investment will help scientists make new discoveries and take their research through to commercial success. It will drive growth and support the Government’s industrial strategy.”
The University’s Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) has been awarded over £3 million for the project Composites Innovation: from Atoms to Applications.
A unique and internationally leading facility will be created to generate a step-change in the understanding of the evolving microstructure of advanced composite materials based on measurements in unprecedented detail throughout the manufacturing and product cycles. This will provide the scientific basis that will enable the creation of next generation multi-functional materials.
A suite of three interlinked and complementary sets of heavily instrumented equipment will be acquired for characterisation of the processes, the mechanical performance, and the micro and nanostructure of composite materials under realistic conditions.
The equipment will enable an in-depth understanding of the relationships between processing conditions, microstructure, and performance, allowing these to be optimised and taking account of phenomena at length scales right down to atoms.
The process equipment will be located in dedicated laboratory space within the second phase expansion of the National Composites Centre (NCC), maximising the impact of the science deriving from its use in an industrial context. The mechanical performance and microstructural equipment will be located at the University to draw in expertise from across Science and Engineering, and take advantage of the in-depth internationally leading strength in materials characterization and innovation.
The facility will build on the research carried out by ACCIS, which has major industrial backing and works closely with the NCC, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
Professor Michael Wisnom, Director of ACCIS, said: “This new facility will enable fundamental new materials science research in physics and chemistry, through to research on processes and mechanisms in engineering, building on the world-leading activities of ACCIS.”
Professor David Delpy, EPSRC Chief Executive, said: “The successful bids will build capability in areas that are vital for the country and where exciting research is already being carried out. Developing new ways to storing energy, creating new materials for manufacturing and other industries, and increasing our understanding of how autonomous systems communicate, learn and work with humans.”
Further informationThe investment will underpin key sectors for the UK economy, including automotive, manufacturing, aerospace, energy and healthcare.
Advanced materials will receive:
EPSRC grant of £30 million with additional funding contributions of £11.7 million from higher education institutions and £5.5 million from industrial partners
= Total of £47.2 million
Grid-scale energy storage will receive:
EPSRC grant of £30 million with additional funding contributions of £9.8 million from higher education institutions and £5.8 million from industrial partners
= Total of £45.6 million
Robotics and autonomous systems will receive:
EPSRC grant of £25 million with additional funding contributions of £8.4 million from higher education institutions and £6 million from industrial partners
= Total of £39.4 million
About the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (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.
The Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) brings together composites research activities across the University of Bristol, linking Engineering to the Science and Medical Faculties.
Research encompasses four broad themes: Multifunctional Composites and Novel Microstructures; Design, Analysis and Failure; Intelligent Structures; and Composites Processing and Characterisation.