Engineering Doctoral Centre in High Value, Low Environmental Impact Manufacturing

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: WMG


Whilst the quality of the output of doctoral-level skills from UK universities is rarely challenged, the relevance and work-place readiness of such skills has historically been questioned by many manufacturing companies. EPSRC's EngD programme, which WMG has pioneered since 1992, has been highly successful in addressing these concerns. However, we believe it is now time for a step-change in the EngD, with radical ideas on high-level skills to be implemented to address the future needs of manufacturing companies in rising to the challenge of a low environmental impact future. Our new EngD Centre in High Value, Low Environment Impact Manufacturing will help ensure that the UK is able to regain its global position in manufacturing and become more successful at innovation and exploitation in low carbon technologies.Our centre will exploit WMG's broad multi-disciplinary research portfolio, exceptionally strong links to industry and understanding of emerging policy, to deliver tailored research and education for companies on low-carbon issues. The Centre will address industrially challenging issues that enable companies to develop and implement effective low-environmental impact policies that benefit the 'bottom line'. Greater resource efficiency helps insure businesses against uncertainty in the supply of materials and price volatility in global markets. It also enables businesses to use their commitment to sustainability to differentiate themselves from competitors.Our vision for the new WMG Industrial Doctorate Centre in High Value, Low Environmental Impact Carbon Manufacturing is:To produce a future generation of manufacturing leaders with the high-level know-how and research experience essential to compete in a global manufacturing environment defined by high impact and low carbon. They will be adept at working in multidisciplinary teams and exceptionally well networked internationally, and with demonstrable entrepreneurial flair.At the core of the Centre are the individual doctoral research projects based on real opportunities and problems in industry, which will deliver research excellence and implement innovations in industry. The Centre will adopt Warwick's portfolio approach, pioneered for the EngD by WMG in the original centre, enabling presentation of new knowledge throughout the programme. Individual projects will display the levels of scholarship, rigour and originality required at the doctorate level.Multidisciplinary team working is built in to our new programme through a cohort approach, a group project, and structured debates. The entrepreneurship element is included in relevant modules, commercialization workshops, empowerment activities, and taking a product to market via the group project (collectively leading to the concurrent gaining of a Masters degree in Technology Entrepreneurship). Business and academic networking and the development of international understanding will be achieved through specialist IT, UK placements, an international placement, workshops and structured social activities. WMG can provide unrivalled access to industrial, international, academic, policy maker and political networks. These new elements will be fully integrated with appropriate modules and the individual research portfolio, with careful customization to meet the needs of individuals.Our new Industrial Doctoral Centre is more ambitious than anything WMG has implemented previously, and represents a very intensive and challenging learning experience for the Research Entrepreneurs (REs). We are confident our programme, because of its innovative nature and the breadth of the offering, will attract individuals of exceptional ability able to rise to the challenges we are offering. We have already attracted considerable support from companies for this novel approach which will provide direct impact as they seek to develop a 'triple bottom line' of economic, environmental and social performance.

Planned Impact

There are seven principal groups of beneficiaries for our new Industrial Doctorate Centre in High Value, Low Carbon Manufacturing: 1. Collaborating companies and organisations, who will gain privileged access to the unique concentration of research knowledge and skills available at the Centre through active participation in doctoral research projects. In the Centre we will explore innovation ideas in conjunction with business partners, end users and the research councils. Showcase events and promotion of R&D outcomes through other means (e.g. White Papers) will offer opportunities to a much broader spectrum of potentially collaborating companies and other organisations. The supporting companies across a range of high value manufacturing sectors from automotive (including motorsport) and aerospace to pharmaceuticals and construction will benefit from cross-sector learning and: a) Specific innovations within the project that make a significant impact on the company. b) A team member who can provide rigour within a real environment and encourage others to do the same. c) A leader able to work at a global level d) Increased collaboration with academia. 2. Early-stage investors, who will gain access to commercialisation opportunities that have been validated through proof-of-concept. 3. Academics at Warwick and other institutions, who will benefit from collaborative research and exploitation opportunities in our new EngD Centre. Exchange visits made possible by the Centre will undoubtedly lead to a wider spectrum of research, educational and exploitation collaborations than defined in the current proposal. 4. REs, who will establish their reputations as part of the Centre. Training and experiences within the Centre will increase their awareness of such important issues as IP identification, commercialisation opportunities and engagement with the public. 5. Taught students at Warwick and other institutions, who will benefit from incorporation of the collaborative R&D outputs in educational content and the feedback of 'industrial' relevance from the organisations exploiting the knowledge. 6. University of Warwick, which will enhance its international profile. In addition to the immediate gains such as high quality academic publications and presentations during the course of the project, the University gains from the collaboration with industry that will continue long after the participants graduate. This is shown by the a) Follow-on research activities in related areas. b) Willingness of past graduates to: i) Act as advocates of the EngD programme, many new participants being encouraged and supported by our graduates ii) Participate in the Industrial Steering Group of our proposed new Industrial Doctoral Centre iii) Act as mentors to current REs 7. Citizens of the UK, since we have identified key fields in low environmental impact technology which are of current strategic importance to the country and will demonstrate the route by which these will impact our lives. Our current EngD Centre in Manufacturing has shown considerable impact on policy makers as evidenced in numerous events held within Westminster and EPSRC. Our proposed centre will continue to give this benefit but with a greater focus on low resource usage. We have built into the Centre activities to develop competence in the RE in: a) Communication - presentations, video, journal paper, workshop. b) Exploitation - business plan and exploitation route for research. c) Public Understanding - science ambassador, schools event, website, Wikipedia.


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