New wave of engineers to fuel UK growth in high-tech manufacturing

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The automotive and aerospace industries in the UK received a major boost today as Universities and Science Minister David Willetts announced the launch of five new centres across the UK to train engineers of the future.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is co-funding five new Industrial Doctorate Centres covering key areas of advanced manufacturing vital to growth in two of the UK’s biggest industrial sectors.

The new EPSRC centres will help students taking an engineering doctorate (EngD) to understand the needs of business, how to be entrepreneurs, as well as training them in the most innovative future technologies in advanced manufacturing.

Launching the new centres during a visit to the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Loughborough University, the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, said:

These new centres will generate a new wave of engineers with the knowledge and skills needed to become future business leaders and create new innovation and economic growth for the UK.

They focus on key areas of advanced manufacturing, which are vital to the UK’s major industrial sectors including the aerospace and automotive industry. These talented young innovators will help fuel future economic growth for the UK.

Each centre will support up to 100 doctorate students over four years and are based in university departments with a strong track record of working in partnership with industry. Over 50% of the funding for each centre will come from industrial partners with EPSRC providing £1.25 million per centre. The companies involved in these centres include Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Rolls-Royce, Tata Steel, Timet, Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing and a wide range of other partners.

The five new centres:

Delivering rapid manufacturing performance improvements
Nottingham, Birmingham and Loughborough Universities (Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).

New ways of manufacturing metal with very little waste
University of Strathclyde, Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC).

Clever new machine technology to make huge time and cost savings
Sheffield University, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

High value. Low environmental impact manufacturing. University of Warwick (Warwick Manufacturing Group).

New techniques for improving manufacturing processes
Swansea University (College of Engineering).

Notes to editors

The Engineering Doctorate

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) is a well established four- year postgraduate award intended for the UK’s leading researchers aiming for a career in industry. It provides postgraduate engineers with an intensive, broad-based research programme incorporating a taught component relevant to the needs of, and undertaken in partnership with, industry. It is a radical alternative to the traditional PhD, being better suited to the needs of industry and providing a more vocationally orientated doctorate degree, with the student spending a significant proportion of their time working in industry.


The Engineering and Physical Sciences research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC also actively promotes public awareness of science and engineering. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via research Councils UK.