EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng


This Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence, the first in the UK, addresses high priority areas for economic growth such as autonomous complex manufactured products and systems, functional materials with high performance systems, data-to-knowledge solutions (e.g. digital healthcare and digitally connected citizens), and engineering for industry, life and health, which are also key priorities for Horizon 2020, the new EU framework programme for research and innovation. Horizon 2020 explicitly spells out ICT and Manufacturing as key industrial technologies. Its remit fits the EPSRC priority areas of ICT for Manufacturing and Data to Knowledge, and has an impact on industrial sectors as diverse as logistics, metrology, food, automotive, oil & gas, chemistry, or robotics. In addition, our world (homes, transport, workplaces, supplies of food, utilities, leisure or healthcare) is constantly seeking for interactive technologies and enhanced functionalities, and we will rely on these graduates who can translate technologies for the end-user.

The uniqueness of this Centre resides on the capability to innovatively address a myriad of Embedded Intelligence challenges posed by technical needs ranging from the EI supply chain: the design stage, through manufacturing of embedded or on-bedded devices, to the software behind data collection, as well as integrative technologies, to finally the requirements from end-users. The thematic areas, discussed conjointly with industry during the preparation of this proposal, allow us also to recruit students from a vast range of educational backgrounds. A strong user pull defines the nature of the challenges that this CDT will tackle. The graduates who shall come to alleviate the shortage of skilled engineers and technologists in the field will be exposed to the following thematic areas:

> Device design, specification of sensors and measurement devices (power scavenging, processing, wire & wireless communications, design for low power, condition monitoring);

> Packaging & integration technologies (reliability and robustness, physical and soft integration of devices, sub-components and wider system environment);

> Intelligent software (low level, embedded, system level, database integration, ontology interrogation, service oriented architectures, services design);

> Manufacturing solutions (design for manufacture of embedded systems, advanced and hybrid manufacturing processes for embedding, process consolidation technologies, biomimetics and cradle-to-cradle for sustainability production, etc.);

> Applications engineering (design and implementation of embedded technologies for in-time, in-line products, processes and supply chains; product and process design for embedded intelligence);

> System Services: (i) Service Foundations (e.g., dynamically reconfigurable architectures, data and process integration and semantic enhanced service discovery); (ii) Service Composition (e.g. composability analyses, dynamic and adaptive processes, quality of service compositions, business driven compositions); (iii) Service Management and Monitoring (e.g. self: -configuring, -adapting, -healing, -optimising and -protecting) and (iv) Service Design and Development (e.g. engineering of business services, versioning and adaptivity, governance across supply chains).

Our flagship, the 'Transition Zone' training, will facilitate the transition into doctoral studies in the first year of studies, and, closer to the end of the programme, out to industry or self-employment. As employable high calibre individuals with a good understanding of enterprising, commercialisation of research, social responsibility, gender equality and diversity, innovation management, workplaces, leadership and management, our doctorates will grow prosperity bottom up, enjoying a wealthy network of academic and industrial contacts from their years at the CDT, as well as their peers at the Centre.

Planned Impact

Our CDT will deliver 87 PhD graduates. The industrial engagement in the design and delivery of the programme is a strong foundation upon which to build industrially relevant impact and shall significantly enhance the quality of their training.

1. The CDT contributes to a diverse range of industrial sectors in several ways:

> The CDT delivers to industry, graduates of sufficient breadth in technical and commercial experience and focused excellence in their chosen fields. These researchers are to build the foundations for the UK's embedded intelligence capabilities, as they become the practitioners, technologists and business leaders in this field;

> The CDT's application-led research elements will impact across a diverse range of sectors, for our Key Partners directly supporting the activities, the wider Cluster Partner memberships in HSSMI, ESP KTN and MTC as well as other manufacturing and service companies;

> The research outcomes in the point-technology solutions and applications-related activities of our cohort will see increased yield, performance, resilience or technical breakthrough for these products and processes in our key collaborators that can bridge the information gaps associated with inefficient supply chain integration and a lack of knowledge on product usage throughout lifecycles;

> For the Universities, this CDT further strengthens and broadens their expertise in embedded intelligence enabling technologies and applications-led research, extending and improving their collaboration opportunities and competitive advantage;

> The general public will be beneficiaries of CDT as, by developing more reliable and trackable products, an organisation can better control their costs and the end-users will benefit from more cost-efficient, intelligent and reliable products;

> Industry is contributing considerably to the industrial relevance of the CDT making it richer, appealing to the students and of direct use to companies. This is evident through: delivery of industrial case studies and technology requirements in the Foresight module; access to their facilities; participating in industry projects in the first year of the training and proposing Ph.D. project topics.

2. Communication and engagement

The academic team and cluster partners (MTC and HSSMI) have experience with international, national and local TV and radio and their respective Public Relations Offices, in coordination with the Universities involved, will facilitate the dissemination of the CDT's research highlights to local, national and international media outlets. Public engagement will also be pursued further by demonstrating the project work of the cohort at popular science conferences and fairs and could be demonstrated to engage school children during National Science Week. There shall be regular workshops and seminars for dissemination of the cohorts activities and an annual conference and Research to Industry (R2i) event, two activities that shall both help cement "the esprit de corps" of the cohort, their pride to belong to a unique Centre, and provide energetic engagement with industrial practitioners.

3. Exploitation

A core element of the taught training delivered through blended learning packages for this CDT's cohort will be enterprise, IP commercialisation and leadership. The students shall learn and be encouraged to value their intellectual capital and develop credible business propositions from their group projects and individual Ph.D. research activities. The students shall have the support of the University Enterprise offices to support development and protection of IP. We fully expect that our close engagement with industry and the end-user pull for technologies and applications will deliver a wealth of IP commercialisation opportunities. Both the MTC and HSSMI are developing business incubator activities to further support the realisation of any commercialisation-ready outputs from the students.


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