Metallurgy forges ahead: FUNDING page 1

Metallurgy forges ahead: FUNDING

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    New funding brings a welcome focus to

    metals research in the UK.

    The University of Sheffield has received

    $6 million in funding for IMMPETUS,

    the Institute for Microstructural and

    Mechanical Process Engineering. The

    five-year package from the Engineering

    and Physical Sciences Research

    Council (EPSRC) will allow the institute

    to launch the next phase of its work.

    In todays ferrous and non-ferrous

    metals industries, the ability to develop

    new materials fast and efficiently is key

    to success, explains co-director Mark

    Rainforth. New materials were

    traditionally developed through a black

    art of trial and error, he says.

    Companies can no longer afford the

    huge waste of time and resources that

    process often causes. So what we do

    is help them produce it right first

    time. By pooling the expertise of

    various university departments,

    IMMPETUS researchers are using

    analysis of the effects of heat and

    force on materials to generate

    computer models. This through-

    process modeling can predict the

    behavior of new models and products,

    as well as be used to control

    production processes.

    In another related effort, Industry

    Minister Alan Johnson announced the

    launch of the National Metals

    Technology Centre (NAMTEC).

    Metals are the backbone of

    manufacturing industry in the UK,

    explains Johnson. There are half a

    million people working in 16 000

    companies in the production and

    fabrication of metals in the UK,

    generating around $46 billion per year.

    Now for the first time this essential

    sector will have a one-stop-shop for

    support and advice. With funding of

    over $30 million, NAMTEC aims to

    encourage innovation and technology

    transfer in the metals industry.

    Metallurgyforges aheadFUNDING

    The US Government's Advanced

    Technology Program (ATP) announces

    the award of $101.6 million to 40

    research projects. Started by the first

    President Bush, the ATP has attracted

    much criticism over the years and saw

    its budget slashed by the current

    President Bush. Nevertheless, the ATP

    is a lifeline for many small companies

    particularly in areas venture capitalists

    deem too risky such as telecoms or


    On the materials side, funding goes to

    American Superconductor Corp. to

    develop processing equipment for

    YBCO wires and laser deposition for

    titanium alloy manufacture (Optomec,

    Inc.). Falling into the electronics

    category, projects will aim to develop

    continuous Si wafer manufacturing

    (ASE Americas, Inc.), piezoelectric

    ceramics for medical devices

    (Piezotech, LLC), printable organic

    transistors (Sarnoff Corp.), and

    rewriteable recording media for

    holographic data storage (InPhase

    Technologies, Inc.). In nanotechnology

    and telecoms, projects include the

    ultrahigh density scalable digital control

    of MEMS (Corning IntelliSense Corp.),

    MEMS mirror arrays for optical

    switching (SiWave, Inc.),

    nanoengineered thermal interfaces and

    templates for nanostructured material

    synthesis (GE), nanophotonic

    integrated circuits (Luxtera, Inc.),

    nanocomposite foams for insulation

    (Owens Corning), and high-throughput

    production of nanofibers (eSpin

    Technologies, Inc.). As founder and

    CEO of eSpin Jayesh Doshi explains,

    This award not only allows eSpin to

    develop the technology, but will create

    an engine of technology creation

    around nanofiber-based products in the

    area. eSpins disruptive technology

    could revolutionize everyday products

    from batteries to band aids, he says.

    ATP lifeline for companiesFUNDING

    Boost for UK manufacturersFUNDING

    Six new Faraday Partnerships will give UK manufacturers a realboost, according to Trade and Industry Secretary PatriciaHewitt. They make the most of developments in science andinnovation crucial to raising productivity, she says. Theymean companies can take advantage of the world-class ideascoming from universities and research institutions. Since 1998, 18 Faraday Partnerships have been establishedwith the aim of bringing together researchers with companiesof all sizes through two or more core partners, such asuniversities or independent research/technology organizations.The latest Partnerships, which will receive over $10 millionfrom the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and $9 millionfrom other sources over the next four years, range from farmanimal breeding to satellite navigation systems. Three focus on materials related fields. The medical devicesPartnership brings together the Universities of Cambridge,Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield, Strathclyde, and Queen MaryCollege with TWI, E-Tech Ltd., M4 Technologies Ltd., andMedilink Ltd. Key challenges include the development ofclinically robust devices, improved materials and surfaceengineering concepts, and novel drug delivery systems.Another Partnership addresses the multi-million dollar powdermanufacturing market. Core partners CERAM Research Ltd,European Powder Metallurgy Association, British HardmetalsAssociation, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining,National Physical Laboratory, UMIST, and Universities ofBirmingham and Loughborough will focus on four areas:advanced ceramics, powder metallurgy, magnetic materials, andhardmetals. Aims range from developing new products to moreflexible and rapid manufacturing methods. The use ofnanopowders and novel components will also be investigated, aswell as low waste, environment-friendly sustainable products.The final materials-related Partnership focuses on noveltechnologies and processes for the minimization of industrialwaste. Electronics, minerals and inorganics, food, metals andmetal finishing are identified as four areas with specificproblems that need to be addressed by the core partners,which include companies, societies, and universities.

    University of London reunited?MERGERS

    Imperial College and University College London have announced theirintention to merge to form a new University, of great national andinternational significance, appropriate for the Third Millennium. In acarefully worded statement, the universities say that they are going toembark on a collaborative process that could lead to the decision tomerge in light of opportunities in the globalization of education andresearch, and their interpretation of current Government policy inthese areas. The new university would bring together just over 27 000 students and around 6500 academic and research staff, with a collective research budget of over $430 million (based on2000/1 funding levels).

    December 2002 23