Functionalised Materials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Chemistry


At the University of Liverpool, the Cooper research group is creating the 'Lab of the Future', which will develop mobile robotic platforms and custom-designed automated workflows to provide a step change in the use of automation for the discovery of functionalised materials. In partnership with Unilever, the project aims to transform product development by creating workflows using the following steps:

1. Finding industrially relevant products and workflows which have the potential to be modularised using mobile robotic platforms (or other automated workflows). Initially, the workflow will involve three separate tasks using established lab equipment that can be integrated in series to form a workflow (e.g. dose, mix and measure).

2. Once identified, modular systems will be designed and developed for execution of necessary tasks, connected as a single workflow.

3. Human collaboration will be incorporated to the mobile robotic platforms by means of system interaction to develop the workflow system and for safe usage. Feedback regarding system errors and instruction for safe handling will be implemented.

4. Development of structures that permit easy reconstruction to the workflow for small changes required to the methodology will also be explored.

5. Custom-designed automated modular workflows can now be created to develop formulations of new products and workflows to aid the discovery of new functional materials.

6. Development of closed-loop systems for the self-optimisation of materials toward a specific target property or properties. Introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms for the self-optimisation of formulations


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R51231X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
2276473 Studentship EP/R51231X/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2023 Michael Walker