World-leading research recognised with strategic funding award

The recently appointed Future Manufacturing Processes Research group has secured new funding totalling £2.5 million to support its leadership of research into new manufacturing processes.

This type of research award, a Platform Grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is granted to groups that are recognised as being world-leading and possessing an extensive portfolio of current research projects. Platform grants provide a flexible mechanism of underpinning funding and enable the group to take a strategic and long-term view of their research.

The five-year award will be led by Professor Russell Harris, who said: "We are delighted that our body of research and our team have been recognised in this way. Manufacturing is vital to the prosperity of the UK, and perhaps even more so in the future where exports will be of increasing importance. In order to capitalise on this we need to invent new processes that will enable greater capability in the products we produce, subsequently increasing their value and impact.  We are exploring this through our research in Hybrid Manufacturing Processes."

The group's Hybrid Manufacturing research concerns digitally-driven and template-less processes which are founded on cross-technology platforms with the integration of emergent physical sciences.

Professor Harris explains: "In essence our research enables new things to happen. We investigate new manufacturing processes that are key to unlocking new opportunity in an application field through novel means of creation."

"We have a very distinct vision of how new manufacturing capability can be key to transformative advancement in our world. Taking a strategic approach to our work is vital to ensuring we focus on the research challenges that our key to our ambitions. The platform will allow us to further plan and control our future research by providing secure long-term foundations of infrastructural support.

"It will also ensure that we remain at the very cutting-edge of research by allowing us to act rapidly in exploring new concepts and hypotheses of process science based in high value strategic themes. This will strengthen our abilities to continue to shape and capitalise on emerging opportunities by acting as the leading pioneers in this emergent field of transformative manufacturing process research."

The academic team comprises of Professor Harris, Dr Robert Kay, and Professor Abbas Dehghani-Sanij at the University of Leeds, with long-term collaborators Professor Richard Bibb and Dr Steve Christie at Loughborough University.

The Future Manufacturing Processes Research Group joined Leeds in April 2016.

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