Functional Materials are those used in applications other than a load bearing capacity. The properties of functional materials within this research area are very diverse, spanning traditional themes of physics, chemistry and materials science, with significant input from engineering. The range of applications is similarly broad and includes information and communications technology, energy generation storage, transport, healthcare, defence and consumer goods.
The area is inherently multidisciplinary involving chemistry, physics and materials science as well as a range of skills within those disciplines. A cohort approach to training will produce individuals with a grasp of the range of knowledge and techniques necessary to push the area forward.
There are skills gaps that need to be addressed including (as examples) Material Science; Energy Materials, Materials Chemistry; Advanced Materials including Graphene; Hierarchical Integration of Nanoscale Materials and Devices; and Functional Materials generally. Recent large-scale investments, such as those associated with the development of graphene manufacturing and investments in materials development by large companies such as BP will require access to skilled individuals.
Proposals will need to come from centres or consortia that can demonstrate the breadth of experience in research and applications, including links to relevant industries.