DICE: Driving Innovation in Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Research in the UK

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Research and Graduate Services

Abstract

Historically, chemistry and chemical engineering have been divided in UK universities, and this division is becoming increasingly serious. There needs to be a symbiotic relationship between the two disciplines and chemistry-based industry in the UK because the health of industry and academia are mutually dependent. The chemical industry is a major contributor to the UK economy but it faces unprecedented pressures (for example from global competition) which can only be countered by rapid and sustained innovation. However UK chemistry and chemical engineering departments simply do not currently have the interdisciplinary capacity to underpin this demand for innovation. Current progress is too slow and the UK lags way behind many countries, particularly USA, the Netherlands, Germany and Japan. DICE is a joint proposal from chemists and engineers which seizes the unique opportunity presented by the Science & Innovation Call to create a completely new research environment with the potential to catapult the UK to the forefront of this field. DICE will immediately deliver 6 new young lecturers with the support needed to launch research at the Chem./Chem. Eng. interface. Over 5 years, DICE will reshape the whole academic supply-chain (from undergraduate to postdoctoral) to provide a stream of researchers to sustain the continuous UK expansion of academic and industrial innovation at this interface. DICE will deliver new science and new technology, bringing engineering into areas where it is underexploited. Our programme pulls new ideas and techniques into the UK from across the world to strengthen and re-invigorate the UK research base. DICE builds on internationally acclaimed research successes at Nottingham which cut right across the Chem./Chem. Eng. divide. The nucleus is a group of chemists and chemical engineers whose work spans pure and applied research and links academia with industry. The. group has achieved on a small-scale what must be achieved nationally in this area. DICE builds on and expands their approach to create a Chemistry/Chemical Engineering Partnership, with a range of skills unique on a world scale, capable of making a substantial impact on UK science. DICE will drive the dissemination of ideas to universities and industry across the UK. Our Proposal involves several radically new initiatives(I) Flexi-Chairs: a completely new type of post to enable internationally-leading chemical engineers with a track-record at the Chem./Chem. Eng. interface to make extended visits to the UK to inject ideas and best practice from overseas. The Flexi-Chairs will be given postdoctoral support to initiate new, cutting-edge research in the UK; researchers from the USA, Japan & EU have already expressed great interest in the Flexi-Chairs. (ii) New research initiatives with high potential, including catalysis/biocatalysis, reaction chemistry, polymer synthesis and processing, instrumentation/process monitoring, photonics/devices, multi-scale modelling and education. (iii) Placement of Outreach Postdoctoral Researchers in leading chemical engineering departments at Birmingham, Imperial College, Newcastle and Sheffield, creating new partnerships to seed new research at the Chem./Chem. Eng. interface, and to train young researchers as candidates for the new generation of academics in this area. Each PDRA will work with a PhD student funded by the university hosting the placement. (iv) Flexible secondments to bring in key UK and EU industrial researchers to academia for both inward and outward knowledge transfer and to help the new staff in establishing their own industrial links.The University of Nottingham supports DICE very strongly and will commit more than 1M to fund two extra lectureships, additional Flexi-chairs, two technicians and a business development officer, all dedicated to this Project. In addition, the University will fund and provide dedicated flagship space to incubate the new research.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The outreach work from this grant launched the YouTube channel the Periodic Table of Videos www.periodicvideos.com which has become one of the leading YouTube channels for Chemistry with over 1.15 million YouTube subscribers and over 1956 million views.
Sector Chemicals,Education,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description EPSRC Responsive mode
Amount £737,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P002382/1 and EP/P002455/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 11/2019
 
Description Photo-Electro: Transforming Chemical Synthesis, Discovery and Manufacture
Amount £6,486,390 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P013341/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 02/2022
 
Description PTOV 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Periodic Table of videos is a YouTube website with one video for each of the 118 elements in the Periodic Table. DICE provided some of the initial funding to get the website started. It now (10th March 2017) has >152 Million YouTube views and 905k YouTube subscribers and 614 chemistry/engineering linked videos.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
URL http://www.periodicvideos.com
 
Description Thunder and Lightning Demonstration Lectures 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Nottingham is famous for its explosive lecture given by the late Col. B. D. Shaw over a period of 60 years until 1990! The lecture has been resurrected and modernised for the 21st Century by Prof. Pete Licence and Mr. Jim Gamble with the assistance of the Public Awareness Scientist. It has become increasingly popular. Not only is it performed in house as part of the Salters' Institute and Science Week events (10 lectures were delivered in the year 2007 alone each time with an audience of >200 schoolchildren), but it has also been taken to lecture halls in Bolton (in front of 3000 people), and Manchester (audience of 500).

The demand for this lecture is such that it is delivered twice during the University's annual public open day, May Fest, and also during the annual A-level Afternoon in January in the School of Chemistry. It has therefore raised the profile of the University amongst the local community and schools and colleges.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014
URL http://nottingham.ac.uk/chemistry/informationforschools/activitiesforsecondaryschoolsandcolleges.asp...