1 Apr 2014
Industrial partners hail new CDT for Embedded Intelligence
A new EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Embedded Intelligence at Loughborough University opened its doors today.
The CDT, whose academic partner is Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, is the first of its kind in Europe and will aim to deliver high calibre employees and smarter products to industry.
The Centre is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) who see Embedded Intelligence as one of the key strategic areas of research and development in the UK for the next 10 years.
The Centre’s Director, Paul Conway, Professor of Manufacturing Processes at the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, said: “This Centre is highly regarded by the EPSRC because we managed to leverage industrial support from companies operating in diverse sectors, with a healthy mixture of large companies and SMEs, and examples of applications that cover the entire supply chain of Embedded Intelligence systems.
“All our industrial partners share with us our ethos of training to educate rounded PhD graduates with a broader profile and high employability.”
Embedded Intelligence uses sensors and data processing to enable a product, process or service to reflect on its performance and is seen in many devices in industry and even in home appliances, like smart energy monitoring systems.
Loughborough aims to build on its strong track-record in electronics design and manufacturing, systems integration and services with world leading academics in these areas.
Heriot-Watt University will provide the know-how in sensor design and specification and information management.
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 into real-life practice through a range of sponsored industrial projects.
The Centre’s Industrial supporters operate in a broad pool of markets and sectors, from automation, metrology and construction, through to the food industry and chemicals.
Surface Active Solutions’ commercial director, Dr Mark Zwinderman, said: “The training of PhD students in a commercial environment will be of great value to those students who are likely to enter the market place considerably more rounded and prepared for the commercial world.”
Colin MacKenzie, chief engineer at GE Measurement & Sensing, said: “The CDT in EI will improve and increase our capability to design innovative solutions for our customers, particularly in harsh environment applications where our technology is used in critical applications.”
Steve Lockwood, Senior Information Architect at IBM, commented: "The breadth of complementary expertise brought to this Centre by the academics involved forms a unique portfolio of research. This initiative brings together several strands of research that are underpinned by being able to better manage a huge volume and variety of data, often in real-time or near real-time speed.
"IBM believes data has become the world's new natural resource and therefore welcomed the opportunity to help. The research should allow companies discover new business models and re-evaluate the way they work and the Centre will help graduates develop the new skills that industry will need in the future."
The CDT, through a student-centred approach, aims to educate a world-leading group of well-trained, commercially aware, multidisciplinary, industrially experienced graduates who will ease the shortage of skilled practitioners in the thematic challenge areas that form the technical core of the CDT.
These are Design, Packaging and Interconnect, Intelligent Software, Manufacturing Solutions and System Services. An integrating sixth area is Applications Engineering, which serves as a challenge convergence activity, where the technical strands are fed by formal requirements, capture methodologies and consolidated into holistic delivery of embedded intelligence solutions.
The Centre training ethos is the ‘Transition Zone’, which comprises technical and non-technical training (i.e. leadership, enterprise, innovation management, personal development and social responsibility) designed to facilitate the ‘double transition’, first into the doctoral centre, and eventually as an employable, high value graduate.
Five Schools at Loughborough are involved in the Centre: Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Aeronautical Automotive Chemical and Materials Engineering, Electronic Electrical and Systems Engineering, Business and Economics, and Design.