University of Birmingham projects named among new regional partnerships to address industry-driven challenges and the development of new technologies.

Nine Early-Stage Prosperity Partnerships have received almost £5 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), matched with funding from the business partners.

Two of the projects will be led by the University of Birmingham and respective collaborators:

Co-creating a digital platform for the rapid development of sustainable polymer products, led by Dr Christopher Windows-Yule, University of Birmingham and Dr John R Williams, Aquapak Polymers. This project will deliver the manufacture of novel polymer products which are both biodegradable and recyclable yet maintain – or even exceed – the functionality of conventional plastics.

Additive Manufacturing of Precious Metals with Improved Resilience and Multi Functionality, led by Dr Biao Cai, University of Birmingham and Dr Selassie Dorvio, Cooksongold. Precious metals are indispensable for many production processes and products today, from wedding rings to dental implants. This project aims to design, develop, fabricate, and test high-performance precious metal alloys specifically customized for laser powder bed fusion, a 3D printing technique, targeting applications in space, healthcare, glass manufacturing and jewellery.

These new partnerships showcase the breadth of research and innovation in the UK and will boost economic growth regionally and nationally. Nine of the 14 businesses involved were SMEs, further demonstrating the vast added value businesses can expect to gain by partnering with some of the UK’s best researchers.

I am excited to announce the EPSRC support of a number of ambitious early-stage academic-business research collaborations which complement the established EPSRC Prosperity Partnerships initiative. “These partnerships which particularly encourage small and medium-sized enterprises will further promote business investment in discovery science and explore important topics including green packaging and sustainable manufacturing.

Dr Andrew Bourne, Executive Director of Partnerships at EPSRC

The nine business–academia partnerships are:

  • University of Dundee and Rautomead Ltd
  • University of Birmingham and Aquapak Polymers
  • University of Strathclyde and ITP Aero
  • Brunel University London and Alloyed
  • University of Birmingham and Cooksongold
  • Imperial College London and Unilever Global
  • University of Sheffield and Phlux Technology
  • Newcastle University and GKN Automotive
  • Newcastle University and Mitchell Dryers