A joint research proposal by Queen Mary University of London and QinetiQ for the future development of electromagnetic materials has been awarded £2.6 million by the Engineering and Physical Research Council (ESPRC).
Titled ‘Digital Transformation of Electromagnetic Material Design and Manufacturing for Future Wireless Connectivity’ (DREAM), the research partnership will develop future intelligent autonomous systems and robotic assisted lab automation by applying digital twins, immersive technologies, and next generation sensors using wireless technologies, software defined materials and machine learning.
Proof-concept demonstrators and shared laboratory environments will be created to, for example, transform future wireless technologies, and establish next generation underpinning capabilities, including design, prototyping, test and evaluation at a systems level, to benefit the UK’s economy, businesses and society. The project aligns with the Government’s Innovation Strategy which will create ‘innovation missions’ to address global and UK challenges.
Professor Yang Hao, Deputy Vice-Principal for Strategic Research and the Principal Investigator of EPSRC DREAM partnership said: “Queen Mary and QinetiQ have worked together since 2011, developing successful joint technological programmes including a recent research breakthrough for ‘Software Defined Materials’ (SDMs), also termed as ‘Animate Materials’ – these are human-made but mimic the properties of living systems. SDMs have immense benefits for industrial product design and manufacturing, with the potential to meet challenging targets for the circular economy because they have a positive environmental impact.”
Professor Sajad Haq, Chief Scientist and the Industrial Principal Investigator of EPSRC DREAM partnership from QinetiQ said: “This collaboration provides the UK with the opportunity to develop and exploit a range of disparate technologies by integrating novel materials and sensors, predictive modelling, robotics and human factors coherently to address key challenges, in areas such as building future generation of wireless communications, resilient and sustainable infrastructure, as well as manufacture automation. Importantly, we will also continue to invest in the future talent in this field of work, making training and placements integral to this programme.”
Dr Andrew Bourne, Director of Partnerships at EPSRC said: “Prosperity Partnerships demonstrate how business and academia can come together to co-create and co-deliver research and innovation that address industry-driven challenges and deliver economic and societal impact. These new projects showcase the breadth of research and innovation in the UK, covering a wider range of sectors, and support the UK’s ambitions to be a science superpower and an innovation nation.”
The DREAM partnership will see Queen Mary and QinetiQ create an innovation hub based both in Farnborough and London. DREAM will also involve close working with industrialists and academic researchers, alongside training, secondments and placements for PhDs, Post-doctoral researchers and assistants, apprenticeships, coaching and mentoring in industry.
DREAM is one of 19 projects awarded funding by the ESPRC, totalling £149 million.