University of Warwick Experimental Equipment Proposal

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Vice Chancellors Office

Abstract

The goal of this project is to establish a portfolio of research equipment that will support the strategic research objectives and enhance the research capabilities of the University of Warwick internally and with external collaborators and partners. The equipment will support and enhance cross-disciplinary research activity including investments made by the University in 'Global Research Priorities' (GRPs) including Energy, Innovative Manufacturing, Science and Technology for Health, Materials and Sustainable Cities.

5 equipment bundles which underpin current projects and grants have been requested as follows:

- Bundle 1: Refreshing Solution and Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Capability;
- Bundle 2: Advanced Materials Characterisation and Analysis;
- Bundle 3: Innovative and Sustainable Manufacturing and Infrastructure;
- Bundle 4: Micro/Nano-fabrication and characterisation;
- Bundle 5: Multi Length Scale Nanomaterials Characterisation.

Each bundle is within EPSRC's remit and in areas where Warwick has research excellence, a critical mass, a previous history of strategic investment and plans for future growth. These bundles will refresh and update existing capability across four departments in the Faculty of Science and will enhance the strength and productivity of the Warwick and national research base as well as supporting the effectiveness of individual researchers.

The investment will underpin the research of >50 academic groups working in diverse fields, including: analytical science, automation systems, catalysis, chemical and synthetic biology, condensed matter, energy materials, functional ceramics, magnetic materials, manufacturing, medical imaging, nanoparticles, nanocomposites, polymer materials, power electronics, semiconductors, spintronics, structural engineering, synthetic organic and coordination chemistry.

The equipment will support the training of many PhD students and early career researchers on state-of-the art equipment, and will be accessible to Warwick academic users, as well as external academics partners, collaborators and industry. Steps will be taken to ensure the equipment requested is managed and maintained and that usage is maximised across the University and with external research partners. This includes the Warwick Analytical Capability Guide - a comprehensive current catalogue of available instrumentation and techniques at the University of Warwick, and Warwick Scientific Services - a centre of excellence based at University of Warwick, delivering cutting-edge world class scientific services, technical measurement solutions, innovative translational research, and knowledge and training services to businesses that could benefit from expertise and instrumentation.

The criteria behind the selection of the equipment ensures that the portfolio has wider strategic benefits for the University and their collaborative research community. The individual equipment will help to support researchers; collectively, the equipment will provide an opportunity to share new ideas and to create connections between academics across the Faculty.

Planned Impact

This proposal will provide items of equipment that will support a diverse portfolio of research activities and impact on a wide range of non-academic groups, including industry, schools and the general public. Impact will be long term, and will take place in the wider context of much of the research activity of Warwick Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) researchers whom this equipment portfolio has been designed to support. The equipment will enhance the research potential and career prospects of our doctoral students and early career researchers by increasing the equipment infrastructure at Warwick. We shall ensure the items of equipment have an average lifetime of 10 years so the impact of the project as a whole will continue beyond 2025.

The expected impact activities can be summarised as follows:

ENHANCED RESEARCH CAPABILITY
The most immediate impact will be on the research capability of the University and the research programmes being undertaken by the academic groups and researchers who are the recipients of the equipment. These new capabilities will lead to enhanced generation of results and hence accelerated publication rates and other forms of dissemination and exploitation in areas of strategic importance for the University, that are also of strategic importance for funding agencies, and of national/international importance.

PARTNERSHIPS WITH INDUSTRY
Most of the items of equipment will be used in collaborative projects with industry. It will therefore have impact on those projects by speeding them up or enabling aspects that are currently precluded. We also anticipate that using the equipment in projects with external collaborators will not only underpin industrial progress and production but lead to the next level of innovation in UK research and industry by leading to new methods and techniques together with providing scientists trained in new ways to use them. Through the innovative Warwick Analytical Capability Guide, external users including from industry will be able to search for equipment and arrange access to conduct their own research at Warwick. Warwick Scientific Services will facilitate businesses in commissioning contract research using Warwick's analytical facilities. The proposed equipment will enhance our attractiveness to potential partners and we anticipate new commercial collaborations as a result of it. The outcomes of this research will be communicated via internal reports to the parties involved, web pages, publications in scientific journals, and various media avenues.

ENHANCED SKILLS PROVISION
Use of equipment is a key feature of the success of almost any fundamental or applied EPS research programme and underpins industrial progress and production. The variety of researchers who will use the new equipment will benefit from learning a new technique and expanding their research possibilities. This proposal will have a significant impact on current and future early stage researchers at Warwick who will take their additional expertise into their future careers. We will seek to run targeted training courses for our industrial collaborators. The items in the portfolio that enhance performance of existing equipment will provide a particularly attractive motivation for this.

OUTREACH PLANS
The equipment will contribute to the infrastructure used in University outreach activities to the benefit of school children and members of the general public. Some items of equipment will be used to develop demonstration programmes for visitors and others will be used directly to give users hands-on experience of research. Departments involved in this proposal have Outreach officers whose remit is to enhance the public understanding of science. The equipment will be used in laboratory/department tours, student placements and work experience. All departments involved have a programme of work experience that typically takes place over the summer.

Publications

10 25 50

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Bhattacharjee A (2019) Crystal Chemistry and Antibacterial Properties of Cupriferous Hydroxyapatite. in Materials (Basel, Switzerland)

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Djordjevic I (2020) CaproGlu: Multifunctional tissue adhesive platform. in Biomaterials

 
Description As an equipment grant, this has allowed us to upgrade a range of existing solution and solid state NMR machines that are essential for identifying the structural, chemical and electronic information on molecules and is critical in underpinning research ranging from pharmaceuticals to advanced materials.
Exploitation Route The equipment supported research that has resulted in scientific publications available for the research community and potentially patents that can be commercialised.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology