Professor David Greenaway - Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham [DG]
The role of research in driving economic growth is absolutely fundamental, that’s how we generate resources to build social capital. Our relationship with EPSRC is one that I value very highly and one that the university values very highly.
Ivette Fuentes - School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham
If we want to make our machines faster, our computers fasters, the way we transmit information faster, we will have to exploit quantum properties because the components of the computers that we are using for example are becoming smaller and smaller and smaller. What we want to do here in my group is to find a way to develop new quantum and realistic technologies focussing on the transmission of information. One of the applications that we have been considering is trying to create more precise GPS systems by exploiting quantum properties.
I think the framework relationship helps because it ensures that we and EPSRC are actually talking to each other on a regular basis in the whole energy space, in digital economy, in aerospace, in sustainable chemistry, in advanced and innovative manufacturing. These are all really important areas, I think, for the economy as well as being important areas for EPSRC and the university.
Richard Hague - Professor of Additive Manufacturing
Traditionally when you are making a component, it may be designed just looking at the overall shape something like this. With additive manufacturing you can really explore the geometric freedoms of parts, you can create topological optimised, very lightweight components and the opportunity we have within our EPSRC centre is to combine some electrical conductivity, biological conductivity or maybe optical conductivity within the part as you are building it, to create the whole system in one go. This is a part that has actually been 3D printed and where we are trying to simulate the embedded functionality within the part, so this has strange gauges and wiring. The reason that this is useful is that it enables you to chunk out whole sways of manufacturing steps, so you can produce the whole part in one manufacturing operation.
We have applications in medical devices, we have applications in aerospace, we have applications in consumer electronics, jewellery, parts of your washing machine - it can take us in many different directions.
We are in the world where the emerging economies are really upping their game with the investments they are putting into science parks, innovation parks and so on. So it’s really important for our economy that we continue to invest in research because if technological progress dies so does economic growth and we need economic growth to improve both economic and social well-being.
Melissa Mather - Institute for Biophysics, Imaging and Optical Science, University of Nottingham
My name is Doctor Melissa Mather. I’m a senior research fellow at the University of Nottingham and also an EPSRC career acceleration fellow. My work here at the university is based on non-invasive imaging of cells and tissues for diagnostic purposes and also to help a biologist. Current techniques like x-rays or MRIs are looking on a bulk tissue level at physical changes in the tissue, but these approaches of molecular and functional imaging are looking at changes in the cells earlier than you see a physical change. So we could perhaps see earlier detection in the diagnostics of cancer on a molecular level.
Trevor Drage - Sustainable Energy and Carbon Capture
The work we do here is mostly related to EPSRC’s energy programme; more specifically my work is involved in carbon capture and storage. We’ve got two main areas we’re working on. The first one is really trying to reduce the cost of the capture process. So what we are doing is working on a range of different capture technologies involving solid materials, so adsorbent materials, which can do the separation, or potentially do the separation, at a much lower energy efficient than the current state of the art of technologies. The government is looking at decarbonising electricity generation by 2030, but we also have a large amount of research as well which is very much more in the short-term, more applied, which is really aimed at allowing people to build these carbon capture plants really in the 2020s, 2025 and take them forward.
Professor Tom Rodden - Department of Computer Science
As a lab what we want to do is reason all the way from sensors to society and think about the digital and its economic and social impacts. Think about how you capture information about people, how that might be understood, how that might be presented to them, how that might impact policy such as privacy, how that may become economically viable and how business models might emerge from it. But within this lab we have visiting artists, psychologists, sociologists, and ethnographers that understand the nature of society. We have people who can build electronic systems and a range of people who can build software systems and what has been really good from an EPSRC perspective is that what they have done is they have backed us as a team and we feel backed as a team. They want us to be different, they want us to be creative and they want us to keep incredibly talented people together to work as a team and finally to simply do the unexpected.
It’s not just about generating growth in the economy for the next quarter or the next two quarters, so we can say the recession is over. It’s about growth in the next five years, ten years, twenty years. The £135 million investment that EPSRC is making in fundamental research and translational research here at the University of Nottingham will have impact, it will help the growth agenda and it’s important that we recognise nationally that to be competitive, we have to maintain investment in research and development and my university will continue to play a part in delivering that journey.