Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering (CNIE): Addressing Challenges in Sustainability and Scalable Manufacturing

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Chemical Engineering

Abstract

Evolution over the eons has made Nature a treasure trove of clever solutions to sustainability, resilience, and ways to efficiently utilize scarce resources. The Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering will draw lessons from nature to engineer innovative solutions to our grand challenges in energy, water, materials, health, and living space.

Rather than imitating nature out of context or succumbing to superficial analogies, research at the Centre will take a decidedly scientific approach to uncover fundamental mechanisms underlying desirable traits, and apply these mechanisms to design and synthesise artificial systems that hereby borrow the traits of the natural model. The Centre will initially focus on three key mechanisms, as they are so prevalent in nature, amenable to practical implementation, and are expected to have transformational impact on urgent issues in sustainability and scalable manufacturing. These mechanisms are: (T1) "Hierarchical Transport Networks": the way nature bridges microscopic to macroscopic length scales in order to preserve the intricate microscopic or cellular function throughout (as in trees, lungs and the circulatory system); (T2) "Force Balancing": the balanced use of fundamental forces, e.g., electrostatic attraction/repulsion and geometrical confinement in microscopic spaces (as in protein channels in cell membranes, which trump artificial membranes in selective, high-permeation separation performance); and (T3) "Dynamic Self-Organisation": the creation of robust, adaptive and self-healing communities thanks to collective cooperation and emergence of complex structures out of much simpler individual components (as in bacterial communities and in biochemical cycles).

Such nature-inspired, rather than narrowly biomimetic approach, allows us to marry advanced manufacturing capabilities and access to non-physiological conditions, with nature's versatile mechanisms that have been remarkably little employed in a rational, bespoke manner. High-performance computing and experimentation now allow us to unravel fundamental mechanisms, from the atomic to the macroscopic, in an unprecedented way, providing the required information to transcend empiricism, and guide practical realisations of nature-inspired designs.

In first instance, three examples will be developed to validate each of the aforementioned natural mechanisms, and simultaneously apply them to problems of immediate relevance that tie in to the Grand Challenges in energy, water, materials and scalable manufacturing. These are: (1) robust, high-performance fuel cells with greatly reduced amount of precious catalyst, by using a lung-inspired architecture; (2) membranes for water desalination inspired by the mechanism of biological cell membranes; (3) high-performance functional materials, resp. architectural design (cities, buildings), informed by agent-based modelling on bacteria-inspired, resp. human communities, to identify roads to robust, adaptive complex systems.

To meet these ambitious goals, the Centre assembles an interdisciplinary team of experts, from chemical and biochemical engineering, to computer science, architecture, materials, chemistry and genetics. The Centre researchers collaborate with, and seek advice from industrial partners from a wide range of industries, which accelerates practical implementation. The Centre has an open, outward looking mentality, inviting broader collaboration beyond the core at UCL. It will devote significant resources to explore the use of the validated nature-inspired mechanisms to other applications, and extend investigation to other natural mechanisms that may inform solutions to problems in sustainability and scalable manufacturing.

Planned Impact

The Centre will be a national hub, an enabler, with a unique "platform" approach to innovation. It will stimulate many areas of critical, national importance, in particular in the focus areas of sustainable manufacturing and resource efficiency. This is underscored by letters of support from over a dozen industries (Maxeler, Shell, Johnson Matthey, AFC Energy, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Harris, Aedas, Sabic, Synfuels China, Antecy/BIOeCON, Air Products/MATGAS, GE, PSRI, ExxonMobil, and Quantachrome). More than half of these are based in the UK, or have very significant commercial, manufacturing and/or R&D activity in the UK. There is a balance of SMEs and multinationals, start-ups and companies with a long history.

Senior technical representatives from these companies will serve on the Centre's Advisory Group, and will be involved in workshops, sandpits and annual "show and tell" events. Companies will share expertise and resources. There will be joint UCL "Impact" studentships (co-funded by industry and UCL), as well as internships and secondments. This boosts the success and practical relevance of the projects, and opens roads to implementation and commercialisation. This mechanism also trains researchers to be future leaders.

UCL Business will facilitate the generation and exploitation of intellectual property, and has ample experience in doing so. An example is the Electrochemical Innovation Lab, headed by co-I Dan Brett, and established in 2011 to identify commercial opportunities early in the development cycle and accelerate progression through Technology Readiness Levels, via targeted research programmes. This already led to two spin-outs this year.

The nature-inspired engineering approach is a "natural" pathway to scalability, via its core themes of hierarchical transport networks, force balancing, and dynamic self-organisation. It enables the more efficient use of scarce resources (energy, water, materials), while delivering innovative methods to create smart materials, products and processes. The Flagship Projects developed initially in the themes are intimately related to energy, water, sustainable chemical production and the built environment. Contributing to the long-term viability of the Centre, there is an opportunity to expand beyond these areas in other projects that are seeded by the Centre, with support from industrial partners and involvement of academics from other universities. Such short- and medium-term projects will be evaluated by the Management Group and a subset of the Advisory Group to ensure quality and a close fit to the Centre Objectives.

Public engagement is an important objective of the Centre. We believe that nature-inspired engineering is a concept that can inspire the general public, including school children, in realising the significance of scientifically led engineering research. Research findings will not only be disseminated via high-impact scientific and engineering journals, but also via the popular media, a professional website, social media, public exhibitions (UCL Slade School of Fine Art, and UCL Grant Museum), and other engagement activities. This will be facilitated by our Faculty Communication Officer, Kate Oliver, and Co-I Mark Miodownik, who is himself a writer and broadcaster with regular appearances on TV and radio.

With this, the Centre aims to become recognised as the world-leading centre in nature-inspired engineering, and, thanks to its agenda focusing on sustainability, resource efficiency and scalable manufacturing, be a strong enabler to innovation, the economy and a higher quality of life.

Organisations

 
Title "Aquaphile", Gravity Related Image, 26th ELGRA & 14th ITTW conference in Granada, Spain 
Description The image "Aquaphile" was displayed during the "26th European Low Gravity Association (ELGRA) & 14th International Two-Phase Systems For Space and Ground Applications (ITTW)" Conference in Granada, Spain in September 2019. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact During the display at the conference, a competition took place, where the image achieved an award (2nd place). 
URL https://en.elgra2019.com/image_contest
 
Title "Bio-Integrated Design", Biodesign Here Now, Open Cell in London, UK 
Description "Bio-Integrated Design" was displayed during the Biodesign Here Now exhibition at the Open Cell in London, UK, in September 2018. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact The exhibition was seen by visitors at the Open Cell in London, UK. 
URL https://www.opencell.bio/biodesignherenow/2018
 
Title "BioTA Lab", Collapse: Climate, Cities & Cultures, New York University in NYC, US 
Description The image was displayed during the "Collapse: Climate, Cities & Cultures" exhibition at New York University in New York City, US in June 2018. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact The exhibition was seen by visitors of the exhibition at the New York University in New York City, US. 
 
Title "Bio_inspired Engineering, Bio-Integrated Design", La Fabrique Du Vivant, Mutations / creations 3, Centre Pompidou in Paris, France 
Description The video was displayed during the "La Fabrique Du Vivant, Mutations / creations 3" exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France from February to April 2019. The video part presented related to this research was on the nature-inspired, micro-printed surface consisting of nature inspired microstructures for humidity control. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact The video was seen by visitors of the exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France. 
URL https://www.centrepompidou.fr/cpv/agenda/event.action?param.id=FR_R-0e1ca28a3e1128d624b2d8375beead0&...
 
Title "Elixir of Life", Research Images as Art / Art Images as Research at UCL in London, UK 
Description The image "Elixir of Life" was displayed during the "Research Images as Art / Art Images as Research" exhibition at UCL in London, UK in May 2019. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact This image won the People's Choice Award and was shown multiple times, for example as the front cover of the centre's leaflet, at the departmental instagram account etc. 
URL https://www.grad.ucl.ac.uk/comp/2018-2019/research-images-competition/
 
Title Advice for film on Matter Patterns (Olga Yakimenko, London Film School) 
Description A fresh documentary short exploring the surprising ways the beauty and wonder of mathematics manifests in nature. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact General inspiration and improving thinking among students, new generation of engineers and professionals. 
URL https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1084724926/matter-patterns
 
Title CNIE Brochure 
Description The CNIE designed a new brochure to highlight and promote the key activities and achievements of the Centre. It aims to give audiences an insight into our research and to maximize on outreach and engagement. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact The CNIE brochure was distributed at the Annual CNIE Advisory meeting and conference, with over hundred copies being shared. Members of the CNIE group also take copies to key events and meetings both nationally and internationally. 
 
Title CNIE Research Facility video 
Description The CNIE produced a new video to promote our range of state-of-the-art equipment to help lead to further collaborations 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact We've had close to 170 views on YouTube and it has led to interest in research and lab equipment 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOwvA-LHK_U
 
Title Chef versus Science: The Ultimate Kitchen Challenge 
Description A 90 minute documentary film about the science and art of food. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Viewed in 200 countries worldwide on BBC World. 
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0752bbd
 
Title Front cover design for Energy and Environmental Science Journal 
Description CNIE PhD Student, Malica Schmidt, designed the front cover image for the leading journal, Energy & Environmental Science (impact factor =29.5). 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact The image was shared to all members of the Energy & Environmental Science journal 
URL http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2018/ee/c8ee90001a#!divAbstract
 
Title TV Programme - Secrets of the Super Elements 
Description Forget oil, coal and gas - a new set of materials is shaping our world and they're so bizarre they may as well be alien technology. In the first BBC documentary to be filmed entirely on smartphones, material scientist Prof Mark Miodownik reveals the super elements that underpin our high-tech world. We have become utterly dependent on them, but they are rare and they're already running out. The stuff that makes our smartphones work could be gone in a decade and our ability to feed the world depends mostly on a mineral found in just one country. Mark reveals the magical properties of these extraordinary materials and finds out what we can do to save them 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Greater public understanding of materials science and engineering 
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08rv9r6
 
Title Video talk on 'Drawing lessons from nature to engineer innovative solutions to our grand challenges' 
Description Prof Marc-Olivier Coppens gave a talk on 'Drawing lessons from nature to engineer innovative solutions to our grand challenges' at The IET Engineering the Future Festival (IET London: Savoy Place, 6th October 2016). The video of his presentation is available here: https://tv.theiet.org/?eventvideoid=9319 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Further engagement with a wide audience 
URL http://tv.theiet.org/?eventvideoid=9319
 
Description The Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering (CNIE) has developed an unprecedented, systematic methodology to discover fundamental mechanisms in nature, which underpin desirable properties (such as scalability, efficiency or resilience), and apply these mechanisms to implement transformative, innovative solutions to a broad range of engineering challenges. The systematic methodologies developed in the CNIE are demonstrating their appeal beyond the original areas of sustainability and scalable manufacturing, which remain the CNIE's core objectives, to applications in health and biomedical engineering, and the built environment. The CNIE is a vehicle for innovation, accelerating discovery and offering unexpected solutions by promoting lateral thinking. Its inherently cross-disciplinary work is leading to new findings, patents, commercial interests and entrepreneurial activity. These include novel catalysts for clean chemical and energy processes, ways to intensify and facilitate the scale-up of multiphase reactors, biomedical and healthcare applications, and multi-functional smart wall coatings. Over the course of the EPSRC "Frontier Engineering" grant, the CNIE's Inspiration Grant scheme has been a powerful mechanism to attract a diverse body of talented researchers to the CNIE, broaden the Centre's disciplinary reach, and raise its visibility. Each of the Inspiration Grant projects, often led by Early Career Researchers, has provided short-term funds for new projects (around 3-12 months in duration) that apply the nature-inspired approach to solve a different challenge; they always include a project partner from an external academic institution or industrial partner, in collaboration with a researcher at UCL. Inspiration Grants have created not only publications and other research deliverables, but also formed the basis for follow-on, externally funded projects and entrepreneurship. To date, the Centre has issued 22 Inspiration Grants, bringing together UCL researchers with at least 25 external academic and industrial partners. These Inspiration Grants have formed the basis for spreading the use of the nature-inspired engineering methodology and its applications, with a number of successful follow-on applications totalling at least £3.4M by 2019. In addition, technologies are being developed further for commercialisation, and a separate KTN on Nature-Inspired Solutions has been kicked-off in 2019, which collaborates with the CNIE and adopts its vision. The CNIE is continuing its core research via an EPSRC "Frontier Engineering: Progression" grant, awarded in 2019, and has initiated a new, 4th Theme that aims to learn from ecosystems, networks, control and modularity in nature to provide robust solutions to a range of applications, where resilience and adaptability are key. Applications are consistently framed in the context of Industrial Strategy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Exploitation Route The Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering is reaching beyond UCL to become a UK National Hub, as an enabler with a unique platform approach to innovation. It stimulates many areas of critical, national importance, in particular in the focus areas of sustainable manufacturing and resource efficiency. The outcomes are not only in terms of "products" and outcomes of individual projects within the CNIE, but, importantly, also in terms of systematic methodology for responsible innovation and design. The training of people has been and continues to be extremely important. Furthermore, the many industrial collaborations and engagement, the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst CNIE researchers, the new KTN on Nature-Inspired Solutions, international conferences and workshops, engagement and outreach activities are all catalysing further growth and adoption of the CNIE's methodology.

Many of the companies engaging with the CNIE are located in the UK or have very significant commercial, manufacturing and/or activity in the UK. There is a balance of SMEs and multinationals, start-ups and companies with a long history. Senior technical representatives from these companies serve on the Centre's Advisory Group, and are involved in workshops, sandpits and show-and-tell vents. Industrial advice and co-creation on many projects boost success and practical relevance, and open roads to implementation and commercialisation. This mechanism also trains researchers to be future leaders. UCL Business is facilitating the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.
Sectors Chemicals,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport

URL http://cnie.org.uk/
 
Description As the CNIE is entering its 7th year of operation, both the breadth and depth of its activities have considerably expanded, to a level beyond what could have been hoped for at its inception - in research, education, public engagement, and translation to practice. The CNIE's research objectives are framed by Grand Challenges related to the UK Industrial Strategy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2019, a first ECI conference on Nature-Inspired Engineering, with prominent keynote speakers, and the kick-off of a new InnovateUK funded KTN on Nature-Inspired Solutions, which already held a well-attended joint event with the CNIE in 2020, keynotes and plenaries of CNIE members at leading conferences, invited perspective articles, an increasing range of projects with industrial collaborations, as well as emerging innovations (UCL's Early Career Enterprise and Innovation Award 2019) are just a few demonstrations of the broadening impact of the CNIE. Results from the Flagship projects are being published in the best journals in the field, including a double-cover of Chem. Eng. J., articles in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., an article in J. Am. Chem. Soc. that was highlighted by Nature Nanotechnology, Phys. Rev. Fluids, ACS Catalysis and ACS Appl. Mat. Int. An article on "A lung-inspired approach to scalable and robust fuel cell design" was featured on the cover of Energy & Environmental Science (IF 30), hailed hot paper of 2017 and cited in the first editorial of Nature Catalysis. To date, the core of the CNIE alone has produced >100 peer-reviewed publications in major journals, spanning disciplines from energy to healthcare, plus papers from numerous projects by often early career investigators emerging from or who collaborated with the CNIE. The methodologies developed in the Centre are demonstrating their appeal beyond the original areas of sustainability and scalable manufacturing, which remain the CNIE's core objectives, to applications in health and biomedical engineering, and the built environment - and these became two new, core Application Areas in the new ESPRC "Frontier Engineering: Progression" grant, awarded in 2019. The CNIE's research is leading to new fundamental insights, new patents, commercial interests and entrepreneurial activity, on dental bone graft substitute materials, toothpaste and nacre-inspired, adaptive materials that allow for actuating controlled release, multi-functional materials for Space technology, as well as more efficient and robust fuel cell technology, and solutions for process intensification. Industrial interest has been steadily growing, leading to useful exchanges with at least 40 companies and national laboratories in the UK and internationally, but also to several additional projects in collaboration with or funded by industry. Internationally, the CNIE engages with other leading research centres around the world, from the Mesoscience programme in China to IFPEN in France, and NETL in the USA. Process intensification is internationally regarded as a major strategic target, with CNIE leading in this area. On the educational front, an elective course with taught and project components on Nature Inspired Chemical Engineering at UCL is attracting 65 MEng and MSc students, while workshops are held at international conferences and in collaboration with the new KTN on NIS. Diversity in every sense of the word is both a natural component and a source of success for the CNIE. Furthermore, the CNIE enthusiastically organises numerous outreach activities, hosts In2Science and Nuffield students and is the home for a UCL Engineering-based Summer Challenge for promising students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Chemicals,Construction,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description EPSRC SAN
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The EPSRC SAN is instrumental in helping the Council to formulate its research funding priorities
 
Description Membership of a guideline committee - Elected Management Board Member of BBSRC BioProNet (2015)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact BioProNet is key to advising and shaping the funding opportunities between BBSRC and EPSRC
 
Description £2m Underpinning Multi-User Equipment At UCL
Amount £440,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P030084/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Description BBSRC London Interdiciplinary Doctoral (LIDo) Program
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 02/2018
 
Description BBSRC London Interdiciplinary Doctoral Programme, rotation project
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 02/2018
 
Description Balancing the impact of City Infrastructure Engineering on Natural systems using Robots
Amount £4,217,380 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N010523/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2016 
End 02/2021
 
Description Biomedical Catalyst
Amount £460,000 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/M025306/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 06/2017
 
Description Discovery 2 Use
Amount £44,458 (GBP)
Organisation UCL Business 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2016 
End 02/2017
 
Description EPSRC Discovery-To-Use grant
Amount £44,500 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2016 
End 02/2017
 
Description EPSRC IAA 2017-20 Discovery to Use (D2U) award
Amount £35,292 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2017 
End 08/2018
 
Description EPSRC IAA: Nature-Inspired Water Management in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell
Amount £84,582 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2018 
End 11/2019
 
Description EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (Grant Ref n. EP/R511638/1)
Amount £29,420 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2019 
End 03/2020
 
Description EPSRC Strategic Equipment
Amount £1,100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N010906/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2015 
End 11/2018
 
Description Enterprise Fellowship
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Academy of Engineering 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2016 
End 06/2017
 
Description Frontier Engineering: Progression Grant in Nature-Inspired Engineering
Amount £758,983 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S03305X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2019 
End 11/2021
 
Description ITI Research Grant - Large Grant
Amount £121,715 (GBP)
Funding ID 1357_2018 
Organisation International Team for Implantology 
Sector Academic/University
Country Switzerland
Start 03/2019 
End 06/2020
 
Description Impact Acceleration Account
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 12/2016
 
Description Leverhulme Foundation
Amount £39,141 (GBP)
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2018 
End 10/2018
 
Description Novel intensified liquid-liquid contactors for mass transfer in sustainable energy generation
Amount £195,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P034101/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 12/2018
 
Description On the morphological stability of supported metal nanoparticles in electrochemical systems
Amount € 400,000 (EUR)
Funding ID STR 596/4-1 
Organisation German Research Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Germany
Start 11/2014 
End 12/2018
 
Description Osteology Foundation Academy Grant
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation Osteology Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country France
Start 06/2014 
End 09/2014
 
Description Research project sponsorship
Amount £1 (GBP)
Organisation Sabic Americas, Inc. 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 06/2015 
End 05/2019
 
Description Supported gold catalyst materials with locally controlled chemical and geometric environments for enhanced propylene epoxidation
Amount £460,000 (GBP)
Organisation Sabic Americas, Inc. 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 06/2015 
End 06/2019
 
Description UCL Grand Challenges Doctoral School Small Grant on Transforming Immunotherapy with Nature-Inspired Engineering
Amount £1,993 (GBP)
Organisation University College London 
Department UCL Global Engagement Office
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 07/2018
 
Description UK Japan Civil Nuclear Energy Collaboration Phase 4
Amount £253,038 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R019223/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 03/2020
 
Description Underpinning Multi-User Equipment At UCL
Amount £1,997,856 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P030084/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Description Video Liquid Transmission Electron Microscopy
Amount £37,497 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N010906/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2015 
End 11/2018
 
Title Acoustic emission based fuel cell characterisation 
Description The developed acoustic emission based fuel cell characterization involves a cost effective and easy to use method for direct evaluation of water generation inside fuel cells. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This technique will reduce the need for highly expensive and complex water evaluation tools in fuel cell industry like neutron imaging, X-ray scans and etc. This method is a bench top process with handheld devices performing the characterizations and evaluations. 
URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1388248119302450
 
Title Doehlert marix model 
Description The Doehlert matrix model was used, to investigate optimum synthetic conditions of titanosilicates. The Doehlert matrix is a second-order statistical model, widely utilized as a tool in analytical sciences, to discover the most effective experimental conditions. The model allows simultaneous change of two or more experimental parameters, determined by sets of multiplication factors. The probe limits of the experimental parameters are controlled by the researcher. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Using such an efficient, multivariate statistical approach significantly reduces the required number of experiments for an optimization study. 
 
Title Materials Library 
Description The Materials Library is a collection of some of the most wondrous materials on earth, gathered from sheds, labs, grottoes and repositories around the world. It is a resource, laboratory, studio, and playground for the curious and material-minded to conduct hands-on research through truly interdisciplinary inquiry and innovation. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2006 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Materials Libraries have become a tool worldwide for connecting materials scientists and materials practitioners from the arts and cultural industries. 
URL http://www.instituteofmaking.org.uk/materials-library
 
Title Printed circuit board based fractal fuel cells development 
Description Printed circuit board material based development of fractal geometry fuel cell flow-field plates. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Reduced the cost for production of fractal flow-field plates by 40 times and the time to manufacture by 5 times with a considerable reduction in weight of the system. 
URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019689041931204X
 
Title Doehlert matrix model 
Description The Doehlert matrix model was used, to investigate optimum synthetic conditions of titanosilicates. The Doehlert matrix is a second-order statistical model, widely utilized as a tool in analytical sciences, to discover the most effective experimental conditions. The model allows simultaneous change of two or more experimental parameters, determined by sets of multiplication factors. The probe limits of the experimental parameters are controlled by the researcher. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Using such an efficient, multivariate statistical approach significantly reduces the required number of experiments for an optimization study. 
 
Description AFC energy 
Organisation AFC Energy Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description ANTECY 
Organisation Antecy BV
Country Netherlands 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Accelerate the adoption of novel intensified mixers to biodiesel production industry. 
Organisation Greenergy International
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Investigation of the hydrodynamic feature in intensified impinging jets mixers.
Collaborator Contribution in-kind contribution to this project in the form of staff time, providing materials, and use of their site facilities whenever required.
Impact Familiarization with biodiesel industry. development of separation technologies and demonstration of their efficiency in applications suggested by the industrial partner.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Aedas Architects 
Organisation Aedas
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description AstraZeneca UK 
Organisation AstraZeneca
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description AstraZeneca protein crystallisation 
Organisation AstraZeneca
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supply many porous materials as nucleants for crystallisation study, including the work involved in synthesising and characterising. Assisting in the set up of screening experiments. Assisting in the analysis of data collected.
Collaborator Contribution Provided protein, screen plates, plating equipment, image recording equipment, and crystallisation expertise. Assisting in experimental setup, data collection, and analysis.
Impact Data not yet synthesised into publication. Study will involve disciplines of nanotechnology and biotechnology.
Start Year 2015
 
Description BASF (Dr Bernd Bruchmann) 
Organisation BASF
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The work conducted in partnership with Dr Bruchmann related to the inspiration grant "Nature-inspired Self-healing Materials from Plastic Waste". The main aims were: • To develop a method to thread macrocycle host molecules onto otherwise non-functional polyethylene backbones in order to form polyrotaxane polymers with modular characteristics. • To synthesise macrocycle with hydrogen bond arrays to exploit hydrogen bonding between the threaded macrocycles as a means to obtain polymer materials with healable properties. The main body of work was successfully conducted at UCL, while Dr Bruchmann was consulted on aspect of potential scalability and industrial relevance.
Collaborator Contribution Dr. Bernd Bruchmann currently heads the "Joint Research Network on Advanced Materials and Systems" (JONAS), a collaboration of BASF with ISIS Strasbourg, the University of Freiburg. He builds on a 30 year career within BASF, mainly related to the research and commercialisation of polymeric materials. To-date, BB has published 38 scientific papers and more than 250 patent applications. During this collaboration, BB served as industrial mentor concerning potential commercial exploitation. The project proposal and results were presented in two online presentations. Dr Bruchmann referred the principal scientist on this project to other potential collaborators within BASF, which led to further interactions.
Impact - Manuscript in preparation for publication. - Follow-up applications for joint funding in preparation. - Further partnership engagement with other stakeholders at BASF (presentations, material exchange/characterisation, proposals for funding etc)
Start Year 2018
 
Description Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry - CNIE Inspiration Grant: Bioactive Aerogels - Preclinical Development of a Novel Bone Grafting Material 
Organisation Queen Mary University of London
Department Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Inspiration Grant was awarded to perform a collaboratory project between the CNIE at UCL and Bart's and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. This project builds upon two other successful research grants, Discovery-to-Use (EPSRC) and a Launchpad Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE), to further develop a novel bone grafting material developed within the Centre.
Collaborator Contribution Scientific input.
Impact N/a
Start Year 2016
 
Description British Antarctic Survey - CNIE Inspiration Grant: 3D Printing underwater: the regenerative fishing nets of salps 
Organisation British Antarctic Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Inspiration Grant to perform a collaboratory project - "3D Printing underwater: the regenerative fishing nets of salps" between CNIE, UCL and British Antarctic Survey.
Collaborator Contribution Scientific input
Impact N/a
Start Year 2015
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant - Centre of Precision Healthcare, UCL 
Organisation University College London
Department Institute of Healthcare Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution THE CNIE awarded an Inspiration Grant to fund the research in Investigating How Nature Inspired Hierarchical Structures Influence Cell Behaviour
Collaborator Contribution It is envisaged that the project will help reveal underlying fundamental mechanisms associated with material processing (TIPS / ice templating akin to ice formation in the natural world) and remodelling (due to hydrolytic induced degradation) that can be applied in a broader context to develop new healthcare materials that will provide an engineering-based solution to improving manufacturing efficiency and potency of clinical products. The CNIE will be credited for its financial suppport to this research.
Impact If successful, the new data generated during the proposed small project will be included in a research publication under preparation describing the new healthcare material technology. This will support future funding applications intended to translate the technology into clinical use.
Start Year 2019
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant - Chemical Engineering Department 
Organisation University College London
Department Chemical Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The CNIE awarded an Inspiration Grant to fund the research in Electrolytes in regulating protein-mimetic amphiphilic nanoparticles.
Collaborator Contribution The partnership aligns with the CNIE vision adn will bring together other closer working with an external university.
Impact The partnership will extend to University of York, who are collaborating in this research and aligns with the CNIE visions.
Start Year 2019
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant - Heriot-Watt University 
Organisation Heriot-Watt University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The CNIE has awarded an Inspiration Grant to carry out research on Bubble Self-Organisation in Annular Gas-Solid Fluidised Beds: Transition from 2D to 3D structures
Collaborator Contribution We expect to continue collaborating closely with Particulate Solid Research, Inc. and Heriot-Watt University looking at numerical and theoretical aspects in structured flows and pilot scale implementation in suitable applications
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant - Imperial College London 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The CNIE awarded an Inspiration Grant to fund the research on Nature inspired 'cation channels' for all solid-state battery with the Imperial College London and with the Department of Chemical Engineering,UCL.
Collaborator Contribution Enhanced the collaborative working with both universities to research adn produce a solid state battery, a solution for electrified vehicles, the CNIE will be credited with giving support to the research.
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant - UCL Eastman Dental Institute 
Organisation University College London
Department Eastman Dental Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The CNIE awarded an Inspiration Grant for the research on Mussel Inspired Chemistry and bacterially synthesised polymers for Oral Mucosal Adhesion and Drug Delivery
Collaborator Contribution If successful the methodology has implications for a much wider range of clinical applications, such as dressings for skin wounds, cardiac patches and also patches for internal wounds such as hernias, which would benefit from direct and localised growth factor delivery. The CNIE will be credited for its financial suppport to this research.
Impact None at this stage.
Start Year 2019
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant - UCL Mechanical Engineering 
Organisation University College London
Department Mechanical Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The CNIE awarded an Inspiration Grant to fund the research of Microswimmer inspired microscale transport in complex fluids.
Collaborator Contribution The research is closely aligned with the vision of CNIE; it draws inspiration from nature and attempts to develop new tools within a truly interdisciplinary program, bringing together mathematicians, engineers, biologists and industry (JSR Genetics), to understand self-propulsion, guidance and natural selection at the microscale, exploiting ideas drawn from the reproductive tract and hence develop engineering solutions that can exploit these features to enhance microscale pumping and mixing, probe complex fluid rheology and develop active and self-organised fluid applications.
Impact This inspirational grant will enable a new collaboration between UCL, Bristol and JSR Genetics, and lay the foundations for a long-term partnership in investigating fluid-structure interaction phenomena inspired by micro-swimming behaviour and related applications within a truly innovative approach. We will capitalize on the preliminary data and momentum gained with this important inspirational grant to apply for a fully-fledged interdisciplinary EPSRC grant (e.g. Healthcare Technologies, Physics of Life or Manufacturing schemes). The proposed research will allow the PI to explore new avenues of research and build momentum within the fast growing active matter community.
Start Year 2019
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant - University of Sheffield 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The CNIE awarded an Inspiration Grant to fund the research of NATURE INSPIRED GREEN, TUNABLE & SCALABLE SYNTHESIS OF MAGNETIC NANOPARTICLES.
Collaborator Contribution Joint resources shared for this research, further maintaining realtionship and collaboration.
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant - University of York (Dr Seishi Shimizu) collaboration 
Organisation University of York
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The CNIE awarded an Inspiration Grant for the research on protein-mimetic nanoparticles to 1) probe the self-assembly and clustering of amphiphilic gold nanoparticles induced by electrolyte screening; 2) to investigate the specific ion effect in regulating NP-NP interaction by comparing various counterions.
Collaborator Contribution The extensive expertise of Dr Seishi Shimizu in colloidal stability and molecular interaction brings solid theoretical guidance for the experimental work.
Impact Seminar titled Modulating the colloidal behaviour of amphiphilic nanoparticles given by us at the University of York
Start Year 2019
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant collaboration 
Organisation University of Bern
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experimental facilities: X-ray micro-tomography, SEM, mercury porosimetry. Grain boundary modelling expertise.
Collaborator Contribution A specialist computer algorithm to digitally reconstruct porous rocks. Expertise on Lattice-Boltzmann modelling. Expertise on molecular modelling.
Impact Multi-disciplinary collaboration involving: Chemical engineering, chemistry, physics and geology.
Start Year 2015
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant collaboration 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department BP Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experimental facilities: X-ray micro-tomography, SEM, mercury porosimetry. Grain boundary modelling expertise.
Collaborator Contribution A specialist computer algorithm to digitally reconstruct porous rocks. Expertise on Lattice-Boltzmann modelling. Expertise on molecular modelling.
Impact Multi-disciplinary collaboration involving: Chemical engineering, chemistry, physics and geology.
Start Year 2015
 
Description CNIE Inspiration Grant collaboration 
Organisation University of Surrey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experimental facilities: X-ray micro-tomography, SEM, mercury porosimetry. Grain boundary modelling expertise.
Collaborator Contribution A specialist computer algorithm to digitally reconstruct porous rocks. Expertise on Lattice-Boltzmann modelling. Expertise on molecular modelling.
Impact Multi-disciplinary collaboration involving: Chemical engineering, chemistry, physics and geology.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Carburos Metálicos and MATGAS 
Organisation MATGAS
Country Spain 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Centre for Grid Scale Energy: Energy for low carbon grids (EP/J021199/1). 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have been working on new designs to Redox flow battery systems, this includes running experimental and modelling analysis.
Collaborator Contribution Supply of Equipment, Facilities and knowledge to allow for investigatation of nature inspired designs to vanadium redox flow batteries.
Impact N/A
Start Year 2014
 
Description Collaboration EIL 
Organisation University College London
Department Chemical Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution In-situ Raman spectroscopy for the investigation of PtO formation during fuel cell operation (Dr. Dan Brett) Use of Micro-Tomography as a Diagnostic Tool for Electrode Degradation in Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (Dr. Paul Shearing)
Collaborator Contribution Raman, Microtomography studies
Impact Paper published on Electrochemistry Communications about the use of microtomography as a diagnostic tool for electrode degradation in vanadium redox flow batteries. Another paper is prepared on the use of in-situ Raman for the investigation of PtO formation mechanism during fuel cell operation
Start Year 2014
 
Description Collaboration McGill 
Organisation McGill University
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Synthesis of metal/metal alloy nanoparticles using electrospraying Synthesis of composite graphite fibers using electrospinning Modeling of electrolyte flow through the porous electrode
Collaborator Contribution Electrospinning training/consultation (McGill) Electrolyte flow modeling (UCL)
Impact No outputs yet. Collaboration just started.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration UCL Chemistry 
Organisation University College London
Department Department of Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution - Functionalized graphene doped with metal nanoparticles as a novel electrode material for Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries - Control of the distance between graphene layers - Synthesis Optimization of Hierarchically Ordered Micro-Meso Porous Ti-Silica for Heterogeneous Catalysis
Collaborator Contribution TEM, AFM, Raman, XPS and BET studies
Impact Manuscript entitled "Synthesis optimization of hierarchically ordered micro-meso porous Ti-Silica via a statistical model" will be submitted to Chemistry of Materials (ACS) in the coming weeks. Joint grant funding proposal submission to EPSRC by April 6th on "Advanced materials for energy generation and harvesting"
Start Year 2014
 
Description Collaboration Washington University at Saint Louis 
Organisation Washington University in St Louis
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Lead author of joint funding proposal to EPSRC-NSF scheme entitled "Nitrogen-Doped Functionalized Graphene Doped with Bimetallic Oxides as Electrode for Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries"
Collaborator Contribution Synthesis of electrocatalysts / characterization (UCL) Characterization / battery testing (Washington U Saint Louis)
Impact Joint proposal to be submitted to EPSRC-NSF funding scheme during 2017
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with 'Green Nano-materials' research group from University of Sheffield 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Design input of how to guide precipitation of silica nano-spheres onto designed and fabricated scaffolds of a particular shape.
Collaborator Contribution An insight and know-how on laboratory techniques of bio-inpired silica precipitations.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary collaboration including architects and chemical engineers, with an output in a form of exhibited prototypes at the London Design Festival in 2018 at 'Biodesign Here Now' exhibition and a short movie exhibited at Centre Pompidou at the 'La Fabrique du Vivant' exhibition in 2019.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Collaboration with Diamond Light source 
Organisation Diamond Light Source
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We collaborated with Synchrotron Radiation facility at Diamond Light source to investigated the crystallisation process using time-resolved in situ small angle and Wide angle X-ray scattering methods
Collaborator Contribution They provided the beam line and laboratory facilities, data collection strategy and data processing of the collected data
Impact We have recently collected X-ray absorption spectroscopic data at Diamond Light Source. The data being processed for publications
Start Year 2008
 
Description Collaboration with Universitity of Bristol, Engineering Mathematics (2019-now) 
Organisation University of Bristol
Department Queen's School of Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have developed microfuidic and experimental tools to study microswimmer behaviour and the flow induced by it in order to develop nature inspired solutions for process engineering.
Collaborator Contribution The partner is a mathematician with extensive expertise in microswimmers. He has provided fundamental insight on microswimming as well as mathematical tools and industrial contacts.
Impact Multidisciplinary collaboration; resulted in experimental data that can lead to publication and follow on grant.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with electronic materials and devices research group: bio-inspired separation membrane preparation 
Organisation University College London
Department Electronic Materials and Devices Research Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Membrane preparation, modification and characterization.
Collaborator Contribution Template preparation with lithography.
Impact Composite silica-si/polymer membranes for water purification or bio-separation. The design of this membrane is inspired by the structure of the biological prototypes. The Si or polymer template applied here is prepared by lithography, the high-energy physical method. The silica nanochannel array growing on the template is conducted by chemical synthesis. And the separation or filtration characterization is conducted with the separation and filtration techniques in chemical engineering.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with industry-JSR Genetics 
Organisation JSR Genetics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution New tools for sperm motility
Collaborator Contribution THye have provided materials for the research, staff time and expertise on handling sperm samples
Impact Pilot data for follow on grant
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with membrane science and technology research group in University of Bath: bio-inspired separation membrane 
Organisation University of Bath
Department Department of Chemical Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Lead author of the joint project entitled "Polymeric nanotubes on anodic alumina substrate", in charge of membrane design, synthesis, and characterization.
Collaborator Contribution Filtration characterization and porosity measurement.
Impact The collaboration is still in process, no outcomes yet.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Collabration with NETL multiphase flow research group 
Organisation National Energy Technology Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This collaboration concerns the project Pattern formation in pulsed fluidized beds. -Provided experimental data for validating their developing multiphase flow model.
Collaborator Contribution -Tested CFD simulations with their latest developed two-fluid models and coarse grain DEM models. The computed results are promising.
Impact No impact yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collabration with Particulate Solid Research Inc. (PSRI) 
Organisation Particulate Solid Research
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This collaboration concerns the project Pattern formation in pulsed fluidized beds. -Provided experimental data and information for simulating pattern formation in fluidized beds using CPFD approach.
Collaborator Contribution - Performed CPFD simulations with Barracuda software. The computed results are promising.
Impact No impact yet
Start Year 2014
 
Description Collabration with TU/e multiphase flow research group 
Organisation Eindhoven University of Technology
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This collaboration concerns the project Pattern formation in pulsed fluidized beds. - Conducted experiments and two-fluid simulations to understand pattern formation in fluidized beds. - Provided experimental data of pulsed quasi-2D fluidized beds to guide the simulations carried out in TU Eindhoven. - Supervised a visiting BSc student (Annelien Schijve) for the dissertation from TU Eindhoven - Supervised a visiting BSc student (Van Dijk, Mark) for the dissertation from TU Eindhoven
Collaborator Contribution - Provided the computation resource (cluster) and guidance on the modelling software. - Sent a BSc student (Annelien Schijve) to conduct simulations in our group. - Sent a BSc student (Van Dijk, Mark) to conduct simulations in our group.
Impact Conference proceedings - K. Wu et al. Multiscale Modeling of Pattern Formation in Pulsed Fluidized Beds: Continuum and Discrete Approaches. Fluidization XV 2016.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Collabration with TU/e multiphase flow research group on investigating two-fluid model closure 
Organisation Eindhoven University of Technology
Department Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This collaboration concerns the project Pattern formation in pulsed fluidized beds. - Conducted two-fluid simulations to test different model closures in terms of reproducing the pattern formation. - Provided experimental data of pulsed quasi-2D fluidized beds to guide the simulations carried out in TU Eindhoven.
Collaborator Contribution - Conducted two-fluid simulations to test different model closures in terms of reproducing the pattern formation. - Guidance on the modelling software.
Impact No impact yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description ConceptionX PhD entrepreneurship programme 
Organisation Barclays
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution we have established a pioneering PhD entrepreneurship programme with funding of £1.2m from Barclays to roll it out across UK universities. As part of our ongoing collaboration with PUC-Rio we will be helping PUC-Rio to establish the PhD entrepreneurship programme across the State of Rio de Janeiro
Collaborator Contribution PUC-Rio raising funding from State of Rio de Janeiro
Impact none
Start Year 2019
 
Description ConceptionX PhD entrepreneurship programme 
Organisation Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
Country Brazil 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution we have established a pioneering PhD entrepreneurship programme with funding of £1.2m from Barclays to roll it out across UK universities. As part of our ongoing collaboration with PUC-Rio we will be helping PUC-Rio to establish the PhD entrepreneurship programme across the State of Rio de Janeiro
Collaborator Contribution PUC-Rio raising funding from State of Rio de Janeiro
Impact none
Start Year 2019
 
Description Dept Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering of UCL 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This collaboration concerns the project Pattern formation in pulsed fluidized beds. This project requires combining fluidization and vibration experiments. Fluidization experiments are conduced in Dept Chemical Engineering
Collaborator Contribution Vibration experiments are conducted in the Dept Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, using their equipment and facilities
Impact Experimental data
Start Year 2014
 
Description Dept. Computer Science, UCL 
Organisation University College London
Department Department of Computer Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Supervision of a MSc student to work on the development of a C++ code to simulate agent-based emergent structures
Collaborator Contribution Supervision of a MSc student to work on the development of a C++ code to simulate agent-based emergent structures
Impact No outcome
Start Year 2015
 
Description EPFL (Prof Francesco Stellacci) collaboration 
Organisation Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Comprehensive study of the colloidal behaviours of amphiphilic gold nanoparticles in the presence of small biomolecules by small angle scattering in aim to uncover the mechanism of hydrotropic stabilisation and hydrophobic forces.
Collaborator Contribution The extensive expertise of Dr Zhi Luo and Prof Francesco Stellacci in colloidal stability and molecular interaction brings solid theoretical and experimental guidance.
Impact This project sits at the interface of nanomaterials, biology and chemistry and has profound impacts in the colloidal stability of biomolecules.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ExxonMobil 
Organisation ExxonMobil
Department ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description GE Healthcare 
Organisation GE Healthcare Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2014
 
Description GlaxoSmithKline PLC 
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Harris Corporation 
Organisation Harris Corporation
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Harvard University, USA - CNIE Inspiration Grant: Robust self-healing fabrics for soft robotic applications 
Organisation Harvard University
Department Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project is part of interaction between CNIE and the Institute of Making, but crucially we build on the links to other international centers of excellence in the field of biologicaly inspired engineering such as the Wyss Institute. Through the workshop we will also build on UCL's strong recent history in researching adaptive architectures, including snake-like robots capable of recovering from partial muscle damage [1] and adaptive trusses to minimize the weight of largescale engineering projects. The chainmail structures at the heart of this project have many applications in rapidly growing sectors such as soft robotics, wearable technology, medical devices, aerodynamics, and acoustics, and we aim to continue developing their self-adaption and self-healing properties
Collaborator Contribution Scientific input to (a) investigate the ability of actuated chainmail fabrics to recover from damage when individual links fail, and (b) to collaborate with the UK and international community on chainmail fabrics applications.
Impact N/a
Start Year 2016
 
Description Hierarchical Hybrid Particles for Targeted Drug Delivery 
Organisation University College London
Department Division of Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Synthesized, characterized and provided mesoporous silica microparticles for use in hybrid PLGA particle synthesis. Characterized Hierarchical hybrid particles.
Collaborator Contribution Synthesized and characterized hybrid PLGA particles.
Impact Multi-disciplinary: Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering, Medicine Research is in progress.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Hierarchically ordered titanosilicate microspheres for heterogeneous catalysis 
Organisation University College London
Department Department of Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Design, synthesis and characterisation of the titanosilicate material.
Collaborator Contribution Characterisation of titanosilicate material: Raman spectroscopy, High resolution transmission electron microscopy, Nitrogen physisorption and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration between departments of Chemical engineering and Chemistry, UCL.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Hierarchically ordered titanosilicate microspheres for heterogeneous catalysis 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Design, synthesis and characterisation of the titanosilicate material.
Collaborator Contribution Characterisation of titanosilicate material: Raman spectroscopy, High resolution transmission electron microscopy, Nitrogen physisorption and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration between departments of Chemical engineering and Chemistry, UCL.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Induced Protein Crystalization 
Organisation AstraZeneca
Department Research and Development AstraZeneca
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Synthesized and Characterized mesoporous nucleant materials. Traveled to AstraZeneca Cambridge to conduct experimental over 10,000 experimental trials.
Collaborator Contribution Provided experimental facilities, equipment, expertise, guidance, and training to conduct the experiments.
Impact Multi-disciplinary: Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Protein Crystallization, Medicine Research is in progress. Manuscript in production.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Johnson Matthey, Technology Centre 
Organisation Johnson Matthey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Knowledge Transfer Network - Special Interest Group on Nature Inspired Solutions 
Organisation Knowledge Transfer Network
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The Centre co-hosting a national Nature Inspired Solution event, which led to further network opportunities and positioning the Centre to becoming a National Nature Inspired Solution hub.
Collaborator Contribution The use of thier contacts and network led to over 123 registered participants
Impact New partnerships formed with other academics and industry.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Laing O'Rourke plc 
Organisation Laing O'Rourke
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Magnetically responsive flexible, robust materials, inspired by nature 
Organisation The Royal Institution of Great Britain
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Development of magnetic foam materials, responsive to an external magnetic field
Collaborator Contribution Provide laboratory facilities to conduct experiments. Collaboration in experimental design & implementation
Impact Multi-disciplinary: Materials Chemistry Chemical Engineering Mechanical Engineering
Start Year 2014
 
Description Maxeler Technologies 
Organisation Maxeler Technologies Inc
Department Maxeler Technologies
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Metal 3D printing via Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We tested and 3D printed nature-inspired fractal flow field
Collaborator Contribution 15 nature-inspired fractal flow field 3D printed at Imperial College London
Impact We published a paper on the obtained results - "A Lung-Inspired Approach to Scalable and Robust Fuel Cell Design"
Start Year 2016
 
Description Microgravity Research and Space Microbiology Collaboration with German Aerospace Centre (DLR) 
Organisation German Aerospace Centre (DLR)
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The collaboration with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) was established to provide microgravity research for the current project. A successful parabolic flight proposal to simulate microgravity was written collaboratively, which will take place at the 35th DLR Parabolic Flight Campaign in June/July 2020. For this, the researcher is in continuous contact with engineers from the parabolic flight company, Novespace, and visited the site in Bordeaux, France, in December 2019. Additionally, the researcher visited the DLR and the European Space Agency (ESA) in April 2019 in Cologne, presented to the 19th Gravimeeting Congress in Erlangen, Germany, in December 2019, and will be an official guest researcher at DLR from 1st April - 31st December 2020, which allows her to access the facilities in Cologne, Germany. There will be another trip to Cologne in April this year for a medical assessment and meetings.
Collaborator Contribution The DLR is funding the parabolic flight, the required medical document, and are contributing towards the travel expenses in Bordeaux. In addition, regular meetings take place vial call and twice face-to face in Cologne.
Impact There will be outputs and outcomes after the parabolic flight. This collaboration is highly multi-disciplinary between Chemical Engineering (the researcher and supervisors from UCL) and Space Microbiology (DLR).
Start Year 2019
 
Description NICE collaborations between UCL and Zhejiang University 
Organisation Zhejiang University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Currently working on collaborative projects in the context of Nature-Inspired Chemical Engineering are students Shuxian Jiang (MsC) and Shuman Xu (PhD) from Zhejiang University Hangzhou, China.
Collaborator Contribution Currently working on collaborative projects in the context of Nature-Inspired Chemical Engineering are students Shuxian Jiang (MsC) and Shuman Xu (PhD) from Zhejiang University Hangzhou, China.
Impact PhD scholarship awarded for Shuman Xu to join the NICE group for one year.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Neutron imaging experiment at HZB 
Organisation Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Department Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for Materials and Energy
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We visualized water distribution in mesh and parallel based PEMFC (with water management strategy) using neutron radiography
Collaborator Contribution They provided facility for us to conduct the experiment
Impact We are in a process of writing a research paper based on the results we obtained.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Neutron imaging experiment at PSI 
Organisation Paul Scherrer Institute
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We visualized water distribution in fractal flow-field based PEMFC using neutron radiography
Collaborator Contribution They provided facility for us to conduct the experiment
Impact We are in a process of writing a research paper based on the results we obtained.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Particulate Solid Research Inc 
Organisation Particulate Solid Research
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution - Provided experimental results to simulate pattern formation in fluidized beds by CFD
Collaborator Contribution - Performed CFD simulations with Barracuda software, not available in our department
Impact Not outcomes yet
Start Year 2015
 
Description Particulate Solid Research Inc 
Organisation Particulate Solid Research
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description PerkinElmer 
Organisation Perkin Elmer
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering, especially in lab products and services.
Impact CNIE researchers have been trained to use some lab products and services.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PhD Collaboration with Goldman Sachs 
Organisation Deutsche Bank
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution research collaboration with Goldman Sachs on AI Algorithm performance we are working with GS to establish an Industry-funded CDT in Financial Computing
Collaborator Contribution funding contribution for PhD student aim to recruit 5-6 financial institutions to fund PhD students
Impact We have produced two publications: Algorithms and The Law, IEEE COMPUTER, ( Volume: 52 , Issue: 2 , Feb. 2019 ) https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8672418 The Computer Journal, Volume 61, Issue 3, March 2018, Pages 399-408, https://doi.org/10.1093/comjnl/bxx103 have produced a number of publications most significant: Algorithms in Future Capital Markets, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3527511
Start Year 2019
 
Description Product Development Collaboration Agreement 
Organisation Geistlich
Country Switzerland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Our part of the project was to provide the intellectual property that was developed within this award. In addition we provided funding for an in-vivo animal study that will form part of an eventual CE mark application.
Collaborator Contribution Gesitlich are covering the costs of all regulatory steps towards applying for a CE mark for a novel bone graft material developed within this project. This includes packaging, sterilisation, and establishing manufacturing protocols.
Impact Outpus are currently being generated.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Project authors 
Organisation University College London
Department Chemical Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am a researcher within the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering in the Chemical Engineering department. The Centre group, led by Prof Marc-Olivier Coppens, seeks to discover fundamental mechanisms behind desirable features in certain biological systems, such as scalability, robustness and efficiency, and apply these to development of technological solutions to challenges related to sustainability and scalable manufacturing. Thus, a combination of theoreticians, computational and experimental researchers is required. Currently, I investigate the characteristics of the protein contact interface with mesoporous materials through all-atom molecular dynamics simulation. This research is essential to improve applications in drug delivery, bioseparations, and biocatalysis.
Collaborator Contribution Their expertise on mesoporous materials and molecular thermodynamics provide valuable guidance for my project.
Impact N/A
Start Year 2015
 
Description Project authors 
Organisation University College London
Department Department of Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am a researcher within the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering in the Chemical Engineering department. The Centre group, led by Prof Marc-Olivier Coppens, seeks to discover fundamental mechanisms behind desirable features in certain biological systems, such as scalability, robustness and efficiency, and apply these to development of technological solutions to challenges related to sustainability and scalable manufacturing. Thus, a combination of theoreticians, computational and experimental researchers is required. Currently, I investigate the characteristics of the protein contact interface with mesoporous materials through all-atom molecular dynamics simulation. This research is essential to improve applications in drug delivery, bioseparations, and biocatalysis.
Collaborator Contribution Their expertise on mesoporous materials and molecular thermodynamics provide valuable guidance for my project.
Impact N/A
Start Year 2015
 
Description Quantachrome Instruments 
Organisation Quantachrome Instruments
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description SHELL GLOBAL SOLUTIONS INTERNATIONAL B.V 
Organisation Shell Global Solutions International BV
Country Netherlands 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to multi-disciplinary expertise (such as in chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture), cutting-edge research and knowledge in hierarchical transport networks, force balancing and self-organization.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Sabic Americas, Inc. 
Organisation Sabic Americas, Inc.
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Selective photocatalytic reactions 
Organisation University College London
Department Chemical Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Designing and conducting organic reactions to test selectivity of photo-active catalysts
Collaborator Contribution Synthesis of catalysts
Impact Project still at early stages
Start Year 2016
 
Description Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Structural Investigation of Protein Confined in Mesoporous Silica 
Organisation Julich Research Centre
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Preparation and characterization of mesoporous silicas and protein porous material composites. Aided in conducting the SANS experiments. Aided in evaluation of SANS analysis and results.
Collaborator Contribution Provided equipment for and conducted the SANS experiments. Completed SANS modeling analysis.
Impact Multi-disciplinary: Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Neutron Science, Structural Physics Research is in progress. Manuscript in production.
Start Year 2015
 
Description State University of New York - CNIE Inspiration Grant: The Self-Organising Built Environment: Calibrating Relationships Across Scales 
Organisation Bristol Heart Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution We address dynamic self-organisation centred on the urban design scale. Since selforganisation may lead to emergent outcomes that are positive or negative, any 'urban selforganisation' should have either some selective steer, or some control built into its 'urban coding'. Hence there is a need for communication across scales, e.g. via generative or regulatory codes, and 'environmental feedback' through selective control by designers, planning authorities, etc. We focus on urban design as a testbed, as this can target both fixed design solutions and more openended collective outcomes, but we expect results to inform both architecture and planning.
Collaborator Contribution 1. (a) Empirical research into the design/planning of the built environment, examining specific historical cases of designs, plans and codes, and their self-organisation, adaptation and evolution, through historical tracking of specific adaptations of codes, plans and designs, etc. (b) Exploratory research developing new ways of designing/planning/engineering the built environment, building on insights from the present project, engaging with built environment industry professionals to bring the nature-inspired approaches to design, planning and engineering practice. 2. Extended research, enlarging the current project, establishing relationships and boundaries (e.g. biomimetic, mechanistic, etc.) across all other areas of CfNIE territory, e.g. this would invite collaboration of experts (natural scientists, engineers, etc.) across the full portfolio of CfNIE projects. The knowledge map/devices would then cover the entire CfNIE territory - and beyond.
Impact N/a
Start Year 2016
 
Description State University of New York - CNIE Inspiration Grant: The Self-Organising Built Environment: Calibrating Relationships Across Scales 
Organisation State University of New York
Department College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We address dynamic self-organisation centred on the urban design scale. Since selforganisation may lead to emergent outcomes that are positive or negative, any 'urban selforganisation' should have either some selective steer, or some control built into its 'urban coding'. Hence there is a need for communication across scales, e.g. via generative or regulatory codes, and 'environmental feedback' through selective control by designers, planning authorities, etc. We focus on urban design as a testbed, as this can target both fixed design solutions and more openended collective outcomes, but we expect results to inform both architecture and planning.
Collaborator Contribution 1. (a) Empirical research into the design/planning of the built environment, examining specific historical cases of designs, plans and codes, and their self-organisation, adaptation and evolution, through historical tracking of specific adaptations of codes, plans and designs, etc. (b) Exploratory research developing new ways of designing/planning/engineering the built environment, building on insights from the present project, engaging with built environment industry professionals to bring the nature-inspired approaches to design, planning and engineering practice. 2. Extended research, enlarging the current project, establishing relationships and boundaries (e.g. biomimetic, mechanistic, etc.) across all other areas of CfNIE territory, e.g. this would invite collaboration of experts (natural scientists, engineers, etc.) across the full portfolio of CfNIE projects. The knowledge map/devices would then cover the entire CfNIE territory - and beyond.
Impact N/a
Start Year 2016
 
Description State University of New York - CNIE Inspiration Grant: The Self-Organising Built Environment: Calibrating Relationships Across Scales 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department Centre for Integrative Physiology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We address dynamic self-organisation centred on the urban design scale. Since selforganisation may lead to emergent outcomes that are positive or negative, any 'urban selforganisation' should have either some selective steer, or some control built into its 'urban coding'. Hence there is a need for communication across scales, e.g. via generative or regulatory codes, and 'environmental feedback' through selective control by designers, planning authorities, etc. We focus on urban design as a testbed, as this can target both fixed design solutions and more openended collective outcomes, but we expect results to inform both architecture and planning.
Collaborator Contribution 1. (a) Empirical research into the design/planning of the built environment, examining specific historical cases of designs, plans and codes, and their self-organisation, adaptation and evolution, through historical tracking of specific adaptations of codes, plans and designs, etc. (b) Exploratory research developing new ways of designing/planning/engineering the built environment, building on insights from the present project, engaging with built environment industry professionals to bring the nature-inspired approaches to design, planning and engineering practice. 2. Extended research, enlarging the current project, establishing relationships and boundaries (e.g. biomimetic, mechanistic, etc.) across all other areas of CfNIE territory, e.g. this would invite collaboration of experts (natural scientists, engineers, etc.) across the full portfolio of CfNIE projects. The knowledge map/devices would then cover the entire CfNIE territory - and beyond.
Impact N/a
Start Year 2016
 
Description State University of New York - CNIE Inspiration Grant: The Self-Organising Built Environment: Calibrating Relationships Across Scales 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Acute Vascular Imaging Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We address dynamic self-organisation centred on the urban design scale. Since selforganisation may lead to emergent outcomes that are positive or negative, any 'urban selforganisation' should have either some selective steer, or some control built into its 'urban coding'. Hence there is a need for communication across scales, e.g. via generative or regulatory codes, and 'environmental feedback' through selective control by designers, planning authorities, etc. We focus on urban design as a testbed, as this can target both fixed design solutions and more openended collective outcomes, but we expect results to inform both architecture and planning.
Collaborator Contribution 1. (a) Empirical research into the design/planning of the built environment, examining specific historical cases of designs, plans and codes, and their self-organisation, adaptation and evolution, through historical tracking of specific adaptations of codes, plans and designs, etc. (b) Exploratory research developing new ways of designing/planning/engineering the built environment, building on insights from the present project, engaging with built environment industry professionals to bring the nature-inspired approaches to design, planning and engineering practice. 2. Extended research, enlarging the current project, establishing relationships and boundaries (e.g. biomimetic, mechanistic, etc.) across all other areas of CfNIE territory, e.g. this would invite collaboration of experts (natural scientists, engineers, etc.) across the full portfolio of CfNIE projects. The knowledge map/devices would then cover the entire CfNIE territory - and beyond.
Impact N/a
Start Year 2016
 
Description Study for the industrial uptake of a novel intensified technology 
Organisation National Nuclear Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Test the applicability of the process in the separation of certain metal components (e.g. depleted uranium) from nitric acid solutions of spent fuel by organic solvents.
Collaborator Contribution In-kind contribution to this project in the form of staff time, providing materials, and use of their site facilities whenever required.
Impact The project will offer convincing case studies in support for applying these novel technologies in standard engineering practice.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Supported gold catalyst materials to enhance propylene epoxidation 
Organisation University of Utah
Department Department of Chemical Engineering
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have designed new approaches to make new different catalyst for the epoxidation reaction.
Collaborator Contribution The discussion with collaborators is extremely helpful to modify the designs of the catalyst. It gives me new directions and ideas to work on the project. The guidance by the collaborator help me to be on the right track in the project.
Impact We are in the process of writing a research paper based on the results.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Supported gold catalyst materials with locally controlled chemical and geometric environments for enhanced propylene epoxidation 
Organisation Sabic Americas, Inc.
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are trying to make new gold based catalyst for the epoxidation reaction. This has led us to write a research paper.
Collaborator Contribution The discussion with collaborators is extremely helpful giving new directions and insight in the project. We use their facilities for catalyst testing.
Impact We are in a process of writing new article based on the current research.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Synfuels China Tecnology Co., Ltd 
Organisation Synfuels China Technology
Country China 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Impact Proactive research engagement between partner and the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description TU Berlin collaboration 
Organisation Technical University Berlin
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Catalyst (metal/metal alloy nanoparticles) mobility on novel non-carbon supports for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells
Collaborator Contribution SAXS and EXAFS studies
Impact No outputs yet. The collaboration started in November 2014
Start Year 2014
 
Description TU Eindhoven 
Organisation Eindhoven University of Technology
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This collaboration concerns the project Pattern formation in pulsed fluidized beds. - Conducted experiments and two-fluid simulations to understand pattern formation in fluidized beds. Our results are used to guide the simulations carried out in TU Eindhoven. - Supervised a visiting BSc student (Annelien Schijve) from TU Eindhoven
Collaborator Contribution - Sent a BSc student (Annelien Schijve) to conduct simulations in our group. - Provided computational resources (cluster)
Impact Conference proceedings - K. Wu et al. Multiscale modeling of pattern formation in pulsed fluidized beds: continuum and discrete approaches. Fluidization XV 2016.
Start Year 2014
 
Description TUDelft 
Organisation Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This collaboration concerns the project Pattern formation in pulsed fluidized beds. - Provided a researcher to conduct experiments in Delft - Supervised a MSc student from Delft (Coen Ottevanger)
Collaborator Contribution - Provided experimental equipment and facilities not inmediately available in our department. Built a set-up especially designed for this project. - Shipped equipment to UCL - Provided a MSc to work on this project. Part of the experiments are done in Delft and part in UCL.
Impact We are expected to publish the results arisen from this collaboration.
Start Year 2014
 
Description The Queen's University of Belfast - CNIE Inspiration Grant: Nature-inspired confined jet-mixers for ionic liquid-liquid extraction applications 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Investigate novel intensified extraction technologies, which combine impinging-jet mixing with ionic liquids as solvents. Impinging jets will be generated from the collision of two (immiscible) liquid streams at high throughputs. To intensify the process, the impinging jets will be confined in small cells where energy will be dissipated in very small volumes and will increase significantly the mixing intensity and the interfacial area, thus considerably enhancing mass transfer rates. The process will benefit from the application of environmentally friendly solvents (Ionic Liquids).
Collaborator Contribution Prof Seddon has previously investigated the applications of ionic liquids to the treatment of nuclear waste using electrochemical separations as well as the stability of ionic liquids to radiation.
Impact N/a
Start Year 2016
 
Description Transmission Electron Microscopy of small gold clusters 
Organisation University of Cape Town
Department Department of Psychology
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have synthesized some new gold clusters and gold based catalyst.
Collaborator Contribution Our collaborators help us to characterize our samples by High Annular dark-field imaging scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) facility.
Impact We are in a process of writing a research paper based on the results we obtained.
Start Year 2016
 
Description University of Fribourg (Dr Stephen Schrettl) 
Organisation University of Fribourg
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The work conducted in partnership with Dr Schrettl related to the theme "Nature-inspired Self-healing Materials from Plastic Waste" The main aims were: • To develop a method to thread macrocycle host molecules onto otherwise non-functional polyethylene backbones in order to form polyrotaxane polymers with modular characteristics. • To synthesise macrocycle with hydrogen bond arrays to exploit hydrogen bonding between the threaded macrocycles as a means to obtain polymer materials with healable properties. The main body of work was successfully conducted at UCL, while Dr Schrettl acted as collaborator and mentor on themes related to his expertise.
Collaborator Contribution Dr. Stephen Schrettl is a Senior Scientist at the Adolphe Merkle Institute and and Research Group Leader of the Supramolecular Materials group with currently 7 PhD students and 1 PDRA. His research interests include the structure-property relationship of supramolecular polymers, the development of bio-inspired materials based on non-covalent interactions, as well as the preparation of responsive polymers and composites. SS has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles (incl. Nature Chemistry (2x 1st authorship), Advanced Materials, Angewandte Chemie and JACS.) as well as two conference proceedings, one book chapter, and two patents. In this collaboration, the contribution of Dr Schrettl related to the characterisation of supramolecular composites (calorimetry, NMR) and overall mentoring of related research. Dr Schrettl also visited the department and gave a seminar, which stimulated further interaction.
Impact - Manuscript in preparation for publication. - Follow-up applications for joint funding in preparation. - Further partnership envisaged with Swiss National Competence Centre for Bioinspired Materials (exchange of research, training programmes etc)
Start Year 2018
 
Description University of Nottingham (Prof Neil Champness) 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The work conducted in partnership with Prof Champness related to the theme "Nature-inspired Self-healing Materials from Plastic Waste" The main aims were: • To develop a method to thread macrocycle host molecules onto otherwise non-functional polyethylene backbones in order to form polyrotaxane polymers with modular characteristics. • To synthesise macrocycle with hydrogen bond arrays to exploit hydrogen bonding between the threaded macrocycles as a means to obtain polymer materials with healable properties. The main body of work was successfully conducted at UCL.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Neil Champness is the Professor of Chemical Nanoscience at the University of Nottingham. His research focus on chemical nanoscience and all aspects of molecular organisation. NC has published over 250 articles with more than 19,000 citations (h-index 72). His contributions have been recognised by multiple awards. He was named as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher (2014-2016) and one of the Top 100 Most Cited Chemists of the previous decade worldwide (2011). NC provided some of the synthetic building components and served as scientific mentor. He hosted experiments on materials preparation (via ball milling) and characterisation thereof.
Impact - Manuscript in preparation for publication.
Start Year 2018
 
Description University of Strathclyde - CNIE Inspiration Grant: Pulsating flow inspired by blood circulation to improve fluid dynamics in flow reactors and crystallizers 
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution CNIE Inspiration Grant was awarded to perform a collaboratory project - Pulsating flow inspired by blood circulation to improve fluid dynamics in flow reactors and crystallizers between the CNIE at UCL and University of Strathclyde.
Collaborator Contribution Scientific input
Impact N/a
Start Year 2015
 
Description University of Surrey - CNIE Inspiration Grant 'Modelling hierarchical transport network of rocks using multiscale modelling and X-­ray tomography' 
Organisation University of Surrey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Dr Jayesh S. Bhatt (in collaboration with Dr David A. Faux and Prof Peter J. McDonald from University of Surrey) has been awarded a Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering Inspiration Grant to perform a collaboratory project - Modelling hierarchical transport network of rocks using multiscale modelling and Xray tomography between the CNIE at UCL and University of Surrey.
Collaborator Contribution Scientific input
Impact New research collaboration links were established with University of Surrey. 6 Months research project funded by CNIE.
Start Year 2015
 
Description the Kurt J. Lesker Company 
Organisation Kurt J Lesker Company
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The partner has been provided with access to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering's multi-disciplinary expertise, cutting-edge research and knowledge in such areas as chemical engineering, biochemical and mechanical engineering, materials discovery, computer science and architecture.
Collaborator Contribution The partner allowed us access to their expertise in various areas which are relevant to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering, especially in high-quality vacuum products and systems.
Impact CNIE researchers have been trained to use high-quality vacuum products and systems.
Start Year 2015
 
Title Bone graft system 
Description Novel low density silicate-based synthetic biomaterial that precipitates bone and teeth mineral. Potential applications include bone substitute and remineralization. 
IP Reference GB1513040.4 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact In progress to form a spin-out company
 
Title AeroGraft 
Description AeroGraft is a synthetic granular bone substitute made partly of the same mineral bone is made of. We have developed technology to be able to completely alter the composition and the density of the material; this gives us ultimate control over its properties. Consequently we are developing two products a AeroGraft-F and AeroGraft-S which both have high osseointegration rates (>90%) but differing remodeling rates (3-4 months and indefinite) that meet the need of dentists for their various clinical procedures. Our technology is different and advantageous compared to any conventional materials used which have poor osseointegration values (~45%) and remodeling rates (2-3 years). We have competed in-vitro testing and developed a number of compositions which we are taking to animal in-vivo stage. A pre-clinical pilot in-vivo study has been planned to begin in February. This will be a four animal miniature pig study performing alveolar socket grafting, to be performed in Sweden, using six test materials and two control materials. The results of this will be used to refine which composition to take forward for further pre-clinical in-vivo testing. Secondly the results will be used to provide figures to base statistical significance upon for future animal in-vivo studies. We will measure osseointegration as bone-to-graft contact and remodeling rates using fluorochrome labels. This will be compared against the results the two control materials. 
Type Therapeutic Intervention - Medical Devices
Current Stage Of Development Refinement. Non-clinical
Year Development Stage Completed 2014
Development Status Actively seeking support
Impact We have received £15,000 as prize money from the Royal Academy of Engineering after winning the JC Gammon Award. The preclinical development is currently being performed at UCL where a post-doc and MSc student currently working on it. 
 
Title AeroGraft further development 
Description Commercialization funding secured. Confidential 
Type Therapeutic Intervention - Medical Devices
Current Stage Of Development Refinement. Non-clinical
Year Development Stage Completed 2016
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact N/a 
 
Title Bioactive Aerogel - Remineralisation Agent 
Description Bioactive Aerogel is a novel material developed for enamle remineralisation (amoungst other applications). It is a silicate based amorphous with an ultra-low density. It is made of a silica polymer network and is bioactive (able to produce hydroxyapatite on its surface) due to the incorporation of calcium and phosphate ions in the silicate network. The silicate network can be designed to control the rate of hydroxyapatite formation on the material surface and the degradation rate of the silica in-vivo. The advantages of our technology are: • Rapid action compared to comparative products • More resistant to acid challenge • 'Smart' technology that releases Ca2+, PO4- and F- ions when in acid environment 
Type Therapeutic Intervention - Medical Devices
Current Stage Of Development Refinement. Non-clinical
Year Development Stage Completed 2019
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact We have shown the cost to produce these materials compared to conventional materials used for the same application is 56% cheaper. 
 
Title xCT - VRFBs 
Description x-Ray Microtomography can be used as a diagnostic tool for electrode degradation in vanadium redox flow batteries 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact US Pacific Northwest National Lab requested collaboration in order to use the 3D microtomography data to model the electrolyte flow through the catalyst structure 
 
Company Name AeroGraft 
Description AeroGraft is a (or will be) an innovative medical device and dental products company. Our first product, currently under development, is a granular bone graft substitute for dentistry that is used to rebuild bone in anticipation for an implant fitting after tooth loss. It has been designed to integrate well with the host bone and then be remodelled by the body and replaced by host bone to allow implant placement. This product has been developed to tailor different remodelling rates and with osseointegration values far superior to existing products and ideal for surgeons. 
Year Established 2013 
Impact JC Gammon Award and Enterprise Fellowship Award from Royal Academy of Engineering
 
Description 3rd CNIE Advisory Board Meeting and mini-Conference, London, 22-23 March, 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business