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New EPSRC Industrial Doctorate Centre in Composites Manufacture

Fractured size effect samples showing brittle nature

Fractured size effect samples showing brittle nature ACCIS

Press release issued: 28 May 2012

The University of Bristol has been awarded funding of £3.8 million by the EPSRC for a new Industrial Doctorate Centre, to provide the composites manufacturing industry with elite research engineers of the future.

It will be based at the National Composites Centre, a research centre led by the University of Bristol and industry.

The Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) aims to provide the composites manufacturing industry with engineers equipped with the necessary advanced technical and leadership skills required for effective adoption of new knowledge and technologies in composites manufacture.

The IDC is integral to the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites (EPSRC Centre) and will support over 30 EngD programmes, of four years duration, where selected research engineers will undertake specialist training and conduct an industrially focused research project, spending 75 per cent of their time at a company.

The IDC will have access to a complete range of equipment and techniques required for composites manufacturing research. It is open to all UK industry and academia and will eventually offer wide access to its bespoke taught modules.

Ivana Partridge, Director of the IDC, explained that the project demonstrates an urgent and growing need in the UK polymer composites manufacturing sector for greater numbers of technically qualified individuals. She said: “The new IDC fills an existing gap in the provision of industrially focused higher level education in the UK.”

The research engineers are expected to encourage joint industry and academia collaboration to a much greater extent than is usual in classical PhD training. 

Professor Michael Wisnom, Director of the University’s Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS), said “The new IDC based at the NCC and in industry will focus on applied research at technology readiness level 3-5, and will be highly complementary to the Bristol ACCIS Doctoral Training Centre, where PhD students work on more fundamental research topics at TRL 1-3.”

The IDC is now looking for industrial projects and supervisors to run innovative composites manufacturing projects, providing a commitment of cash support for research engineer training and stipend top-up.

Eligible research engineers with an engineering/science background and an interest in industrially focused composites manufacturing research should apply through, for a position with a tax-free stipend of £20k pa.


Further information

About the National Composites Centre

The NCC is a £25million investment supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the South West Regional Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The NCC is also part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, an elite network of world-leading technology and innovation centres to transform the UK’s capability for innovation, managed by the Technology Strategy Board.

In addition, the centre has powerful support from industry with the private sector being involved from the inception. AgustaWestland, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GKN, Umeco and Vestas have committed almost £5.5million of work over three years.


The Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) brings together composites research activities across the University of Bristol, linking Engineering to the Science and Medical Faculties. Research encompasses four broad themes: Multifunctional Composites and Novel Microstructures; Design, Analysis and Failure; Intelligent Structures; and Composites Processing and Characterisation.

About the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites

The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites is led by the University of Nottingham. The Centre benefits from academic partnerships across the UK, which includes the University of Bristol’s ACCIS and Cranfield and Manchester universities. Funding is provided by EPSRC and industrial sponsors; Rolls-Royce, GKN, Airbus, Bentley, Lotus, Caparo, Luxfer and Vestas.

The Centre is investigating major research challenges including ways to make the next generation of composites cheaper and faster to manufacture. The goal is to turn research ideas into new products and processes ready for the marketplace, ensuring the maximum impact to the industries which are investing in the Centre.

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