EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


We propose to build the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future (Sensor CDT) on the foundations we have established with our current CDT (EPSRC CDT for Sensor Technologies and Applications, see http://cdt.sensors.cam.ac.uk). The bid falls squarely into EPSRC's strategic priority theme of New Science and Technology for Sensing, Imaging and Analysis.

The sensor market already contributes an annual £6bn in exports to the UK economy, underpinning 73000 jobs and markets estimated at £120bn (source: KTN UK). Major growth is expected in this sector but at the same time there is a growing problem in recruiting suitably qualified candidates with the necessary breadth of skills and leadership qualities to address identified needs from UK industry and to drive sustainable innovation. We have created an integrated programme for high quality research students that treats sensing as an academic discipline in its own right and provides comprehensive training in sensor technologies all the way from the fundamental science of sensing, the networking and interpretation of sensory data, to end user application.

In the new, evolved CDT, we will provide training for our CDT students on themes that are of direct relevance to a sustainable and healthy future society, whilst retaining a focus that delivers value to the UK economy and academia. The 4-year programme is strongly cross disciplinary and focuses on sustainable development goals and emphasises training in Responsible Innovation. One example of the latter is our objective to 'democratise sensor technologies': Our students will learn how to engage with the public during research, how to play a valuable part in public debate, and how to innovate technology that benefits society.

Technical aspects will be taught in a bespoke training programme for the course, that includes lectures, practicals, lab rotations, industry secondments, and skills training on key underpinning technologies. To support this effort, we have created dedicated, state-of-the-art infrastructure for the CDT that includes laboratory, office, teaching, and social spaces, and we connect to the world leading infrastructure available in the participating departments and partner industries.

The programme is designed to create strong identities both within and across CDT cohorts (horizontal and vertical integration) to maximise opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and leadership training through activities such as our unique sensor team challenges and the monthly Sensor Cafés, attended by representatives from academia, industry, government agencies, and the public. We will create a diverse and inclusive atmosphere where students feel confident and empowered to offer different opinions and experiences and which maximises creativity and innovation.

We have attracted substantial interest and support (>£2.5M) from established industrial partners, but our new programme emphasises engagement also with UK start-ups and SMEs, who are particularly vulnerable in the current economic climate and who have expressed a need for researchers with the breadth and depth of skills the CDT provides (see letters of support). We recruit outstanding, prizewinning students from a diverse range of disciplines and the training programme connects more than 90 PIs across 15 departments and 40 industrial partners working together to address future societal needs with novel sensor technologies.

Technology developers will benefit through connection with experts in middleware (e.g. sensor distribution and networking, data processing) and applications experts (e.g. life scientists, atmospheric scientists, etc.) and vice versa. This integrative character of the CDT will inspire innovations that transform capability in many disciplines of science and industries.

Planned Impact

The primary outputs from the CDT will be cohorts of highly qualified, interdisciplinary postgraduates who are experts in a wide range of sensing activities. They will benefit from a world leading training experience that recognises sensor research as an academic discipline in its own right. The students will be taught in all aspects of Sensor Technologies, ranging from the physical and chemical principles of sensing, to sensor design, data capture and processing, all the way to applications and opportunities for commercialisation, with a strong focus in entrepreneurship, technology translation and responsible leadership. Students will learn in extensive team and cohort engaging activities, and have access to cutting-edge expertise and infrastructure. 90 academics from 15 different departments participate in the programme and more than 40 industrial partners are actively involved in delivering research and business leadership training, offering perspectives for impact and translation and opportunities for internships and secondments. End users associated with the CDT will benefit from the availability of outstanding, highly qualified and motivated PhD students, access to shared infrastructure, and a huge range of academic and industrial contacts.

Immediate beneficiaries of our CDT will be our core industrial consortium partners (MedImmune, Alphasense, Fluidic Analytics, ioLight, NokiaBell, Cambridge Display Technologies, Teraview, Zimmer and Peacock, Panaxium, Silicon Microgravity, etc., see various LoS) who incorporate our cross-leverage funding model into their corporate research strategies. Small companies and start-ups particularly benefit from the flexibility of the partnerships we can offer. We will engage through weekly industry seminars and monthly Sensor Cafés, where SME employees can interact directly with the CDT students and PIs, provide training in topical areas, and, in turn, gain themselves access to CDT infrastructure and training. Ideas can be rapidly tested through industrially focused miniprojects and promising leads developed into funded PhD programmes, for which leveraged funding is available through the CDT.

Government departments and large research initiatives are formally connected to the CDT, including the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA); the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC); the Centre for Global Equality (CGE); the National Physics Laboratory (NPL); the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), who all push our CDT to generate impacts that are in the public interest and relevant for a healthy and sustainable future society. With their input, we will tackle projects on assisted living technologies for the ageing population, diagnostics of environmental toxins in the developing world, and sensor technologies that help replace the use of animals in research. Developing countries will benefit through our emphasis on open technologies / open innovation and our exploration of responsible, ethical, and transparent business models. In the UK, our CDT will engage directly with the public sector and national policy makers and regulators (DEFRA, and the National Health Service - NHS) and, with their input, students are trained on impact and technology translation, ethics, and regulatory frameworks.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2258738 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Mohammed Alawami
2276769 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 31/10/2023 Swetha Lingamgunta
2276768 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Greta Musteikyte
2262311 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Hayden Salway
2259381 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Lawrence Coles
2262510 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Charles Wedd
2262314 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Abdul Tadbier
2260235 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Haseeb Mahmood
2262191 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Dafydd Ravenscroft
2258809 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Kayla-Jade Butkow
2262320 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Iona Thelwall
2643672 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Edward Wills
2394429 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Nuzli Karam
2394971 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Sarah Sibug-Torres
2408311 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2025 Adam Adam
2394405 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 William Graham-Campbell
2410475 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Asio Evelyn Kalenzi
2408885 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Anne-Pia Marty
2408391 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Stefany Kissovsky
2394385 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Matthew Ellis
2394469 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Liam Self
2408405 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Sophie Oldroyd
2571984 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Jake Stuchbury-Wass
2572427 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Justas Brazauskas
2572001 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Terence Fawden
2572429 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Sofia Kapsiani
2572019 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Hayley Gilbert
2572430 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Filip Ayazi
2571852 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Josephine Tumwesige
2572424 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Panagiotis Ioannou
2571788 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Asher Dworkin
2728838 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Alec Sargood
2739381 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Jieni Wang
2740310 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Nicolas Spiesshofer
2728819 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Eleni Papafilippou
2740329 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Jasper Ward-Berry
2728829 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Tomas Paulik
2726505 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Aparna Kaaraal Mohan
2728890 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Melissa Watt
2728835 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Robert Petrie
2866384 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Stephen Devlin
2866482 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Juliana Ferraro
2867366 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Jiayi Hou
2842281 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Jack Davies
2866414 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Abbie Davidson
2866344 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Raluca Alexii
2866438 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Omar Tanner
2867373 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Oriol Colomer I Ferrer
2867364 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Maxwell Walk
2866933 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Francisco Quero Lombardero
2866385 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Leon Brindley
2866444 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Gratsiela Kostova
2867360 Studentship EP/S023046/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027 Livia Occhipinti
2866945 Studentship EP/S023046/1 02/10/2023 30/09/2027 Francesco Cenciarelli