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New Centres aim to develop enterprising researchers to tackle today’s evolving issues

Loughborough University is to lead a new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Embedded Intelligence and will be a partner in a second focusing on Carbon Capture and Storage and Cleaner Fossil Energy.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centres are two of 19 announced yesterday by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts. The new CDTs are in addition to the centres unveiled by the EPSRC in November 2013. Loughborough is a partner in five of the CDTs announced last year.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training will involve both the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and the Centre for Information Management in the School of Business and Economics. Heriot-Watt University is also a key partner in the CDT.

Professor Paul Conway from Loughborough University’s School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering explains: “Embedded Intelligence uses sensors and data processing to enable a product, process or service to reflect on its performance, usage load, its end-users or environment.

“The new CDT will allow research students to consider the uses of Embedded Intelligence in the technical areas of design, packaging and integration, manufacturing, intelligent software and service systems.”

Professor Tom Jackson from the Centre for Information Management said: “Nowadays, we see embedded intelligence in many devices and even in home appliances, for example in some fridge-freezers, but the real benefits have yet to be realised, and functionality developed. The main area we will focus on is structuring the large data generated by the devices so we can interrogate it to make intelligent decisions which will affect the whole lifecycle.”

The Centre will involve more than 80 PhD students, supported by 20 companies and 40 academic staff. Students will put the research and training they undertake in the Centre into real-life practice through a range of sponsored industrial projects.

The EPSRC CDT in Carbon Capture and Storage and Cleaner Fossil Energy will provide the highly trained personnel needed to enable UK-based industry to tackle the challenges in implementing technologies to reduce CO2 emissions from power generation and other industrial uses of fossil fuels. 

Led by the University of Nottingham, it builds upon the success of the existing Efficient Fossil Energy Technologies Engineering Doctorate Centre hosted by three universities in the Midlands Energy Consortium – Nottingham, Loughborough and Birmingham. The partnership has been expanded to include the University of Leeds and the British Geological Survey to improve the quality and breadth of the training programme that has been co-created with our industrial partners to meet their advanced skills needs.

Professor Rachel Thomson from Loughborough’s School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering, said: “We are delighted to continue work with our university and industrial partners in this new Centre, which builds on Loughborough’s strengths in the development of high temperature materials for future fossil power plant and expertise in carbon capture technologies.

“We are also looking forward to training the next generation of more than 70 researchers for this important industrial sector.”

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs)

CDTs are funded for four years and include technical and transferrable skills, as well as a research element. The centres bring together diverse areas of expertise to train engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today’s evolving issues, and future challenges. They also provide a supportive and exciting environment for students, create new working cultures, build relationships between teams in universities and forge lasting links with industry.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The EPSRC is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. www.epsrc.ac.uk