No new proposals will be coded to this area and it will no longer appear as a discrete area in EPSRC's taxonomy.

Displays was a small research area in 2016 and has decreased since then. Display innovation and development is now less about the underpinning optoelectronics and more about how people engage and interact with displays. Closing this area will see it fully integrated with Graphics and Visualisation, Vision, Hearing and Other senses, and Human-Computer Interaction to take advantage of opportunities presented by enhanced image processing/manipulation and holographic displays. All current grants in this area will remain active.

Research into underpinning simulations and technologies for the design and use of novel or improved optoelectronic devices or systems to display text, graphics, images and video information. This may include Displays comprising established materials (e.g. liquid crystals, light-emitting polymers and organic, inorganic and polymer light-emitting diodes) as well as new and emerging materials and metamaterials.

This research area also includes interactive Displays, holographics and augmented reality Displays, projection Displays, scanners, spatial light modulators, and flexible, large-area, free-form, transparent, reflective, head-up Displays. Other imaging systems (e.g. for use in medical diagnostics) might also be included.

This research area forms a very small proportion of EPSRC's overall portfolio (Evidence source 1). Research into Displays is increasingly moving towards sensing and user interaction with the display, such as in touchscreens, data transmission and haptic feedback devices (Evidence sources 2,3). We therefore aim to reduce support for research underpinning optoelectronic technologies that solely address display challenges.

To maximise the impact of Displays research in the UK, we encourage the community to interact with those working in the areas of Graphics and Visualisation, Vision, Hearing and Other Senses, and Human-Computer Interactions. We encourage researchers to take advantage of opportunities presented by the development of enhanced image processing/manipulation and holographic Displays for collaborative working with researchers in the creative, automotive and built environment sectors.

By the end of the current Delivery Plan period, we aim for the integration of research on Displays into parts of the wider EPSRC portfolio where the display of information is a key communication route.


The UK Displays community is relatively small (Evidence source 1,2,3,4,5). On the whole, however, it is well balanced, from theoretical and applied academics to start-ups and established companies. Researchers are well supported by industry and innovation funders, rather than EPSRC, due to the nature of the portfolio (Evidence source 2,3).

Overall, activity in the UK is distributed across a few institutions and underpinning support comes from a broader community engaged in materials research (Evidence source 1). While Asia dominates the traditional Displays production market, Europe has maintained its position of strength in material supply, production equipment and visualisation systems (Evidence source 5,6). Although the UK has no major display industry, it is consistently represented at relevant conferences by the academic and business community, with the latter ranging from large companies (e.g. Merck) to smaller enterprises that have spun-out from universities.

This area is not typically reliant on significant amounts of supporting equipment (Evidence source 2). Where required, though, needs are well met through research-level fabrication facilities, including cleanrooms and processing and analysis equipment. Additional investments have been made at the national level in associated areas, with the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large Area Electronics partnering the Cambridge Innovation and Knowledge Centre, the Centre for Plastic Electronics, the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating, and the Organic Materials Innovation Centre (Evidence source 1).

Cross-disciplinary working is expected to increase with the development of enhanced image processing/manipulation and holographic Displays in the creative, automotive and built environment sectors (Evidence source 4,5,6,7).

This research area is identified as aligning to the EPSRC Productive Nation Outcome and with some relevance to the Resilient Nation Outcome. There is most specific relevance to the following Connected Nation Ambition:

C1: Enable a competitive, data-driven economy

Elements of this research area relating to user interaction with data will have an impact here.

  1. Analysis of EPSRC data
  2. Community engagement (individual input, group feedback and team visits)
  3. Input from the EPSRC Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Theme Strategic Advisory Team (SAT) and Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 panellists
  4. Photonics Leadership Group
  5. Photonics21, Photonics Landscape Europe
  6. A. Hamacker and G. Jordan, Photonics Revolutionising our World, (2014)
  7. Roadmap: UK III-V Community Engagement with Industry

Research area connections

This diagram shows the top 10 connections between Research Areas within the EPSRC research portfolio. The depth of the segment relates to value of grants and the width of the segment relates to the number of grants shared by those two Research Areas. Please click to see the related Research Area rationale.

Visualising our Portfolio (VoP)
Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships.

EPSRC support by research area in Displays (GoW)
Search EPSRC's research and training grants.