Published: 9th May 2017
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub has held a launch event in Nottingham, UK, to introduce current funded research and explain how the wider composites community can engage with the Hub.
Professor Andrew Long, Hub Director, opened the proceedings on 4 May with an introduction to the Hub, outlining the objectives over the next seven years and how they fit within the broader UK composites strategy.
Enrique Garcia, CTO at the National Composites Centre (NCC), explained the importance of the Hub from an industrial perspective and talked about the role the NCC will play in pulling through promising technologies, in order to advance them through the Technology Readiness Levels in preparation for industrial adoption. Professor Ivana Partridge discussed recent success stories from the Industrial Doctoral Training Centre in Composites Manufacturing and explained how the IDC will deliver the next generation of skilled composite engineers to support these fundamental developments in composites manufacturing.
The Hub is led by the University of Nottingham and the University of Bristol and initially includes four other spokes: Imperial College London, Cranfield University, the University of Manchester, and the University of Southampton.
“We are absolutely delighted to be leading this initiative, which aims to build upon the solid foundations of CIMComp, the previously funded EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites,” says Long. “This event has provided us with the perfect platform to introduce the Hub to new potential stakeholders, in our effort to become the national centre of excellence in fundamental research for composites manufacturing.”
Half of the 135 registered delegates at the event represented the aerospace, automotive, defence, energy and rail sectors, from all aspects of the composites supply chain. Academics also attended from leading national and international institutions, and were introduced to the Hub’s first call for funded Feasibility Studies. This is the primary mechanism for new UK academic partners to engage with the Hub, with short-term funding available to support risky and ambitious projects, to aid a fundamental step change in composites manufacturing within the UK. Up to £50,000 is available to fund projects of up to six months, which may lead to further Hub funding if feasibility is demonstrated. Applications must be received by 16 June.