EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Ultrasonic Engineering

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Engineering

Abstract

Ultrasonics, the science and technology of sound at frequencies above the audible range, has a huge range of applications in sensing and remote delivery of energy.

In sensing, 20% of medical scans rely on ultrasonics for increasingly diverse procedures. Ultrasonics is pervasive in underwater sensing and communication and a key technology for non-destructive evaluation. Ultrasonic devices are essential components in every mobile phone and are being developed for enhanced biometric security.

Ultrasound is also important in remote delivery of energy. In medical therapy, it is used to treat neural dysfunction and cancer. Many surgical tools are actuated with ultrasound. As the best way to clean surfaces and bond interconnects, ultrasound is pervasive in semiconductor and electronics fabrication; it is also being explored for power delivery to implants and to give a contactless sense of touch.

Such a broad range of applications predicts an exciting future: new materials will emerge into applications; semiconductor circuits will deliver smaller, more convenient instrumentation systems; autonomy and robotics will call for better sensors; and data analysis will benefit from machine learning.

To maintain competitive advantage in this dynamic and multidisciplinary topic, companies worldwide rely on ambitious, innovative engineers to provide their unique knowledge of ultrasonics. As a significant contribution to address this need, Medical & Industrial Ultrasonics at the University of Glasgow and the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering at the University of Strathclyde will combine to form the Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Ultrasonic Engineering (FUSE), the largest academic ultrasonic engineering unit in the world.

Working with more than 30 external organisations, from microcompanies to multinationals, this will, for the first time, enable systematic training of a new generation of leaders in ultrasonics research, engineering and product development. This training will take place in the world-class research environment provided by two of the UK's pre-eminent universities with its partners, creating a training and research powerhouse in ultrasonics that will attract the best students and put them at the global forefront of the field.

Planned Impact

FUSE has been designed to maximise impact in partnership with industry, international academics, and other organisations such as NPL and the NHS. It includes funded mechanisms to deal with opportunities in equality, diversity and integration (EDI) and in realisation of impactful outcomes.

EDI is aimed at realising the full potential of the talented individuals that join FUSE. Funding mechanisms include support for ten undergraduate internships to prime the pipeline into FUSE research studentships; part-time studentships reserved for people with specific needs to access this route; and talent scholarships for people from Widening Participation backgrounds. Additionally, cultural issues will be addressed through funded support for work life-balance activities and for workshops exploring the enhancement of research creativity and inventiveness through diversity.

People: As a community, FUSE will contribute to impact principally through its excellent training of outstanding people. At least 54 EngD and PhD graduates will emerge with very high value skills from the experience FUSE will provide in ultrasonics and through highly relevant professional skills. This will position them perfectly as future leaders in ultrasonics in the types of organisation represented by the partners.

Knowledge: FUSE will also create significant knowledge which will be captured in many different forms including industrial know-how, patents and processes, designs, and academic papers. Management of this knowledge will be integrated into the students' training, including data management and archival, and will be communicated effectively to those in positions to exploit it.

Economic Gain: In turn, the people and knowledge will lead to the economic impact that FUSE is ultimately designed to generate. The close interaction between the FUSE academics, its research students and industry partners will make it particularly efficient and, since FUSE includes both suppliers and customers, the transition from knowledge creation to exploitation will be accelerated.

Societal Benefit: FUSE is well placed to deliver a number of societal benefits which will reinforce our researcher training and external partner impacts. This activity encompasses new consumer products; improved public safety through advanced inspection across many industrial sectors; and new modalities for medical surgery and therapy. In addition, FUSE will provide engaging demonstrators to promote education in science, technology, engineering and maths, helping replenish the FUSE pipeline and supporting growth of the FUSE community far beyond its immediate members.

Impactful outcomes will gain from several specific funding mechanisms: horizon scanning workshops will focus on specific ultrasonic engineering application areas with industrial and other external participation; all FUSE students will have external partners and both industrial and international academic secondments will be arranged, as well as EngD studentships primarily in industry; and industry case studies will be considered. There will also be STEM promotion activity, funding ultrasonic technology demonstrators to support school outreach and public science and engineering events.

Publications

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