New Industrial Systems: Manufacturing Immortality

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Biochemistry

Abstract

The development of future real-world technologies will be dependent on our ability to understand and harness the underlying principles of living systems, and to direct communication between biological parts and man-made materials. Recent advances in DNA synthesis, sequencing and ultra-sensitive analytical techniques amongst others, have reignited interest in extending the repertoire of functional materials by interfacing them with components derived from biology, blurring the boundary between the living and non-living world. These bio-hybrid systems hold great promise for use in a range of application areas including, for example, the sensing of toxins or pollutants in our environment, diagnosing life-threatening ilnesses in humans and animals, or delivering drugs to specific locations within patients bodies to treat a range of diseases, e.g. cancer.

During this project we propose to develop innovative manufacturing methods to enable the reliable and scaleable production of evolvable bio-hybrid systems that possess the inherent ability to sense and repair damage, so-called 'immortal' products. This will ultimately lead to the development of products and devices that can continue to function without needing repair or replacement over the course of their life. For example, imagine a mobile phone that can self-repair its own screen after being dropped, or a circuit board in a laptop computer that can repair itself after being short-circuited. The outputs of this project have the potential to provide solutions to some of our greatest societal challenges and by doing so to reinvigorate the UK manufacturing industry by establishing it as a world leader in the production of self-healing systems. We propose to focus our efforts on three specific application areas. These are:

1. Electrochemical energy devices, e.g. fuel cells and batteries that are needed to power our everyday lives, from mobile phones to electric cars.

2. Consumer electronics, which underpin many of the core technologies that we encounter and use on a day-to-day basis, e.g. computers or televisions.

3. Safety critical systems that are used in the nuclear industry and deep sea technologies, e.g. deep sea cables that can withstand many years of use without needing to be replaced.

Planned Impact

The overarching goal of this project is to establish a bio-digitally enabled New Industrial System (NIS) that will allow the manufacture of 21st century bio-hybrid products with the inherent ability to evolve function and heal damage following insult or injury. We seek to exemplify the principle of material immortality, and demonstrate that it is manufacturable, and that there is a design aesthetic and business model which enables its implementation. Our hypothesis is that this NIS, which draws upon existing UK academic expertise, will represent an exemplar for future manufacturing systems and will position the UK as a global leader in manufacturing technologies, superseding existing methods which do not demonstrate circular economy principles.

We will exemplify our approach in three application areas where the potential for transformation is significant both in terms of economic value, but also in terms of providing employment in the UK and producing goods to export. As such, we believe considerable impact can be achieved. During this project we will work in close collaboration with industrial partners to ensure the challenges being addressed are of commercial relevance and that we realize the economic potential of our research. With its wide-range of interacting disciplines and industrial partners 'Manufacturing Immortality' will provide a platform for innovation far removed from a 'business-as-usual' model.

Our objectives to enhance and realize effective commercial impact are to:
- identify and protect any intellectual property arising from the research;
- identify and capitalize on any commercial opportunities arising from the research;
- work with our current industrial partners, or where necessary identify and approach new industrial partners, to establish productive research collaborations and deliver commercial impact. We will utilize the skills of our Advisory Board to give oversight to this process, and as a sounding board for our commercialization strategy and its delivery.

Our objectives to realize effective public impact are to:
- raise public awareness of our research and its potential benefits;
- address any public worries about inclusion of GMOs in consumer products or widely utilized technologies.
- receive training and instruction in facilitating public engagement and media training;
- publicize significant advances in our research through the broadcast, online social media and print media.

Our objectives to realize third sector impact are to:
- raise the profile of our research at partner Universities and beyond;
- establish and maintain strong links with Departments other than our own, largely though not exclusively through interactions with our collaborators and both local, national and international network activities;
- realize the impact of our research through interdisciplinary collaborations, high profile publications, patent applications, industrial links and political engagement.

Our objectives to realize training impact are to:
- recruit and nurture the most-promising early career researchers;
- provide PDRAs and allied PhD students with the highest quality training, and the experience of working in a multidisciplinary team at the cutting edge of scientific research;
- provide career guidance and support to all PDRAs and PhD students working on the project;
- provide a crossdisciplinary environment as an exemplar and training aide for this type of project within our institutions and our individual subject areas.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Manufacturing Immortality Video 
Description A short video introducing the Manufacturing Immortality project, researchers and key ideas and vision for the research. The video was submitted to the Disruptive Innovation Festival which is an annual on-line festival held throughout the month of November each year attracting over 30,000 viewers across more than 180 countries. It attracts a diverse audience from global manufacturers, SMEs, designers, entrepreneurs, academics and students. The video is also hosted on YouTube and has over 300 views to date. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact The video has raised awareness of the project and the ideas surrounding self-healing materials and products. The video was submitted to the Disruptive Innovation Festival which is an annual on-line festival held throughout the month of November each year attracting over 30,000 viewers across more than 180 countries. It attracts a diverse audience from global manufacturers, SMEs, designers, entrepreneurs, academics and students. The video is also hosted on YouTube and has over 300 views to date. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB5aRlztUfY&t=18s
 
Description Materials for Strategic advantage PhD programme 2018
Amount £110,624 (GBP)
Funding ID DSTLX1000133108 
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2019 
End 03/2021
 
Description NNL fully-funded PhD scholarship scheme
Amount £70,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NNL/UA/097 
Organisation National Nuclear Laboratory 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 08/2021
 
Description Northumbria University PhD studentships 2018
Amount £75,000 (GBP)
Organisation Northumbria University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2021
 
Description Realising Accountable Intelligent Systems (RAInS)
Amount £789,003 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R033846/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 12/2021
 
Description Standard scheme
Amount £776,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R032041/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 01/2022
 
Description UK-China Low Carbon Manufacturing
Amount £812,910 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S018190/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 03/2022
 
Description UKRI Creative Circular Plastic
Amount £801,551 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S025200/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 06/2020
 
Description Attendance of the CE100 Industry event in Lisbon, Portugal 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Merryn Haines-Gadd attended the CE100 event to engage with over 200 industrial representatives about the project and research being undertaken. As a result several new collaborations were formed and professionals expressed an interest in finding out more / being involved in the project. It has been agreed that the MI team will host a more formal workshop at the next event in May 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BBC Radio Bristol Interview, Paul Race 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Race was interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol about his self-healing materials research and the Manufacturing Immortality project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Chemistry and Industry Magazine article, Paul Race 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Race was interviewed and profiled in the Chemistry and Industry Magazine. He discussed his self-healing materials work and the Manufacturing Immortality project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Hayfield Cross Primary School Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Fiona Charnley ran a workshop at Hayfield Cross Primary School as part of 'Engineering Week' to 60 children aged between 6 and 7. The purpose of the workshop was to raise awareness of Design and Engineering to school children. The concept of self-healing products sparked many questions and discussion amongst the children and the school reported an increase in interest and related subject areas and the number of children wishing to go into engineering focused careers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.hayfieldcross.org.uk/index.php/news-pages/blog/465-engineering-week
 
Description Interview BBC Radio 4, The Today Programme, Paul Race 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Race was interviewed on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. The interview focused on the Manufacturing Immortality project and self-healing materials more generally.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Loughborough University Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Merryn Haines-Gadd presented a lecture to students at Loughborough Univeristy on her research activities which included discussing our activities on the self-healing materials. The lecture resulted in questions and discussion around self-healing materials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Manufacturing Immortality Cranfield Blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Merryn Haines-Gadd published a Blog detailing her involvement in the Manufacturing Immortality project and the research she is leading. The Blog raised awareness about the project and the research being conducted and resulted in enquiries about the project from colleagues and students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://blogs.cranfield.ac.uk/design/designing-immortal-products-at-c4d
 
Description Materials for Strategic Advantage Conference 2018, conference talk by Paul Race 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Race delivered a conference talk at the 2018 MSA conference in Watford. The work covered progress on the Manufacturing Immortality project but also included an overview of a recently funded DSTL PhD studentship in self-healing materials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description PA Consulting Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Merryn Haines-Gadd was invited to join an expert panel on Circular Value and discussed the project and research with an audience of 50 business and industrial professionals. This resulted in increasing awareness about the project, initiated follow-on discussion and enquiries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Poster presentation at 'Nature Inspires Creativity Enginerring' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster presented at the 'Nature Inspires Creativity Engineering' in Nice, France.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation to NEPIC (the North East Process Industries Cluster) members at the NEPIC Talent & Technology Showcase Event at Teesside University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A PhD student working on this project presented a short PowerPoint describing the project to an audience of industry representatives and other PhD students, PDRAs and academics. At the poster session linked with this presentation, a selection of attendees came and asked questions about the content of the talk.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2019
URL https://www.nepic.co.uk/event/nepic-university-technology-showcase-event/
 
Description Presentation to composite industry representatives at the Materials for Composites Collaboration Event (InnovateUK) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presented a 10 minute PowerPointed talk on the aims and early findings of the Manufacturing Immortality project at the "Materials for Composites Collaboration Event" run by InnovateUK at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://ktn-uk.co.uk/events/materials-for-composites-collaboration-event
 
Description Research Seminar at DSTL, Paul Race 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Race gave a DSTL science seminar focused on self-healing materials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Richard Dawson talk a Lancaster University Materials science institute in May 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presenting research in electrochemical engineering including the Manufacturing Immortality project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Self-healing Polymers 2018, Conference talk by Paul Race 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Race delivered a lecture at 'the Self-healing Polymers 2018' conference summarising recent progress in the Manufacturing Immortality project with a specific focus on bio-inspired self-healing polymer systems. The talk was well received and resulted in a number of new industrial and academic collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UK/China Sheffield/Jiangxi Province Delegation Bilateral Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A delegation of officials, Governmental representatives and leading academics from Jiangxi Province, China, visited Sheffield Hallam University to attend an event hosted and organised by Paul Bingham (Co-I) and Tzu-Yu Chen (PDRA) to foster new collaborations across multiple themes. A key theme discussed was self-healing materials and extreme environments, and the Chinese delegation has since reported increased interest in collaborations with SHU in these key thematic areas. Currently one research collaboration is soon to begin, and Universities from Jiangxi are discussing arrangements for joint degrees in Materials, with exchange of undergraduate students. These are directly linked with the visit. Further engagements, researcher exchanges and collaborations are expected in future.
Most significant outcome - Plans made for future related activity
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop with Overlander batteries 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Initial project discussion with Overlander to identify foci for future collaborative research activity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop with Siemens Subsea at Lancaster University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Discussion with Siemens Subsea at Lancaster University about their engagement in the project and developing the future aims of amongst others, the electronic engineering aspects of the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Year 1, industrial engagement, Industry needs scoping and progress dissemination meeting. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The consortium presented the Immortal Manufacturing project and the results to date and a call to action for industry to engage.
Industrial partners presented their organisation and key areas of their business that could benefit from self-healing.
The review meeting discussed the focus and direction of the project and follow on engagement activity and arrangements for IP protection.
The meeting identified key industrial challenges, wish list or applications in demanding environment that could be the beneficiaries for immortal manufacturing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019