Complex manufactured products

Our ability to produce innovative manufactured goods that are competitive in global markets depends upon our ability to seize opportunities associated with emerging research areas. Complex manufactured products offer the potential for competitive advantage through the generation of intellectual property and the development of sophisticated manufacturing competences. To capture this opportunity, the UK needs a cadre of product innovators with a deep knowledge in a breakthrough field and an understanding of design and manufacturing.

Manufacturability is critical in the development of emerging science and technology, but is often given insufficient attention in both research and doctoral training. We expect to have manufacturing innovation included as a core component of research training and reflected in the portfolio of projects. This includes the development of engineering and design principles, and the consideration of manufacturing scale up, integration and market factors. This will require a multidisciplinary approach.

Involvement of practitioners and companies is important to ensure a realistic approach. The social sciences can make a useful contribution to this theme but should not dominate the research agenda of any proposed centre.

Areas of opportunity exist across the EPSRC spectrum. These opportunities are diverse and bespoke and for that reason we do not envisage a generic Centre in this area - rather we see this manufacturing philosophy embedded within Centres with a primary technical focus.

Key research areas include:

  • Application of new materials – includes graphene engineering
  • Heterogeneous structured materials - micro/nano scale
  • Surface engineering and coating
  • Assembling molecular systems for manufacturing applications
  • Complex formulated products – includes food processing
  • Manufacturing of advanced (opto) -electronic systems and devices
  • Biological and healthcare-products – including regenerative medicine
  • Harnessing biotechnology in manufacturing: industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology and bio-processing.
  • Radical and disruptive product technologies