New Researchers in Residence awards to build connections and support knowledge exchange between academia and Catapults

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A new pilot initiative intended to improve knowledge sharing between research universities and the Catapults was announced today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on behalf of Research Councils UK (RCUK).

Over the life of the pilot it is anticipated that the RCUK Catapult Researchers in Residence (RiR) initiative will support up to 52 awards linked to nine Catapults and will be funded to a total of £2.6 million.

Several Research Councils, (AHRC, EPSRC, ESRC and NERC) have been involved in the development of this pilot activity that seeks to support the development of new collaborations through research visits/residencies for academics to spend time at Catapults.

This initiative builds on previous 'people exchange' activities led by EPSRC and the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) and Digital Catapults, as well as NERC and the Future Cities and Satellite Applications Catapults. Research Councils have now broadened this approach across the Catapult family and participating RCs' remits, to provide a single model for access to funding.

Announcing the awards Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's Chief Executive and Chair of Research Councils UK said: The movement of people is widely acknowledged as one of the most effective ways of exchanging knowledge. Improving interaction between researchers and users has been a focus for Research Councils for many years. By stimulating the flow of people and skills in the innovation system these Researcher in Residence positions will help accelerate impact and enable our world leading researchers to maximise the impacts of their research.

The aims of the RiR initiative are to:

  • Accelerate the impact of Research Council-funded research
  • Increase knowledge exchange and co-creation between academia and Catapult centres
  • Develop new collaborations between academia and Catapult centres
  • Expand the capabilities and knowledge of the Catapults
  • Nurturing talents and skills development of researchers and Catapult staff
  • Create a cohort of RiRs, able to share their experiences with a wider network of academics

The first tranche of Researchers in Residence successfully recruited against this pilot activity have now been funded (18 awards in total) and a second round of RiR opportunities closed last week. Further opportunities will continue to be available through 2018 as detailed at the Catapult Researchers in Residence Programme page.

Many of the challenges identified require Researchers to be working at the interfaces and across the Catapults delivered either through the allocation of awards jointly supported between Catapults or through joint awards led by one Catapult on behalf of others. Details of the first tranche of 18 awards supported through this activity are as follows:

Researcher in Residence Research Organisation Host Catapults(s) RiR project
Dr Shan Lou University of Huddersfield High Value Manufacturing MTC Surface measurement methods for the manufacturing, functioning and metrology of additively manufactured products
Dr Thomas Charrett Cranfield University High Value Manufacturing MTC Application of novel optical positioning and orientation instrumentation in manufacturing robotics
Dr Eloise Ann Marais University of Birmingham Future Cities and Satellite Applications Launching urban air quality and green space monitoring into the 21st century
Dr Xiaonan Hou Lancaster University High Value Manufacturing WMG Optimization of hybrid adhesive joints for automotive applications
Dr Mauro Vallati University of Huddersfield Transport Systems AI4ME: Artificial Intelligence for Maximising the Exploitation of Urban Networks via Personalised AVs Route Generation
Dr James Kratz University of Bristol High Value Manufacturing NCC Robust Processing of Composite Materials for Right-First-Time Manufacture
Dr Jon Willmott University of Sheffield High Value Manufacturing AFRC Thermal Metrology at the Advanced Forming Research Centre
Dr John Anthony Francis The University of Manchester High Value Manufacturing Nuclear AMRC Optimisation of Toughness in Electron Beam Welds in Nuclear Pressure Vessel Steels
Dr Matthew Roy The University of Manchester High Value Manufacturing Nuclear AMRC Accessible residual stress assessment techniques for high value components
Dr Muhammad Khan Coventry University High Value Manufacturing WMG Validated structural prepreg preforming simulation tools for automotive composite structures
Dr James Gopsill University of Bath High Value Manufacturing NCC Valuing Digital Knowledge Assets within the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult
Professor Richard Leach University of Nottingham High Value Manufacturing MTC Integrated Metrology 10-year roadmap for advanced manufacturing (MetMap)
Professor Zaili Yang Liverpool John Moores University Future Cities and Transport Systems PVC / Prioritising Vehicle Cleanliness for better air quality
Dr Peter Aaen University of Surrey Compound Semiconductor Applications Compound semiconductor modelling and metrology
Dr Lorna Ashton Lancaster University Cell and Gene Therapy Development of Raman Spectroscopy for the Quantitation of Viral Titre in Cell and Gene Therapies
Professor Li Ran University of Warwick Offshore Renewable Energy Siemens Wind Power converter rig set up
Dr Mils Hills University of Northampton Transport Systems Securing Intelligent Mobility: Towards Real Time Interventions and a Resilient Cyber Culture
Dr Becky Mallaband Aston University Energy Systems Consumer Challenges of Decarbonising Heat

Please note that the Digital Catapult, the ninth centre engaged in this activity will be supporting its RiR projects through subsequent rounds.

Each RiR award has a total grant value of £50,000 and the grant may last up to four years in duration; with the Principal Investigator having flexibility to manage these funds in the most effective way to deliver their RiR project.

The funds are to be used to cover their related costs for their RiR visits to the Catapult(s) and are limited to salary costs for each residence, travel and subsistence for their visits as well as costs for any RiR related consumables used at the Catapult(s).

Notes to editors:

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate.

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture.

We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Reference: PN 17-18

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