The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is investing more than £700,000 to co-fund nine PhD programmes as it looks to secure tomorrow’s technologies for the UK’s manufacturing industry.
Ken Young, Technology Director of the Coventry-based R&D facility, outlined the MTC’s strategic approach which is in partnership with its founding academic partners – the University of Birmingham, the University of Nottingham and Loughborough University.
The MTC will contribute £80,000 per student undertaking the three-and-a-half year research programmes which start this autumn, with three students at each university. This will be repeated next year as the MTC looks to create a constant stream of innovation ideas from academia, which it can develop and transfer into industry.
Young said: “It is about enhancing our relationships and making sure that the work done on the research comes through to the MTC, so we can mature it and get it into industry.
“We want to be at the forefront of getting the ideas and innovations from academia and then advancing them into UK industry. For us, it is also about getting the right standards and the right sort of supervision inside and outside of university, so the students will get access to the MTC’s facilities and experts.
“This will help make sure the PhD is appropriate to industry’s needs. This is a very positive move as it is ensures that the research landscape joins up.”
The PhDs will focus on a number of key areas including next generation robotics, additive manufacturing, simulation and modelling and artificial intelligence. They will also be split based on the academic specialisms of each university.
He added: “As we are jointly funding these PhDs with the universities, it means we can make sure the research areas are relevant to us and our industrial members. As new developments are made, this enables us to bring them into the MTC environment and for us to see what is capable for commercial exploitation.
“The universities focus on the low technology readiness levels, where they can solve problems that are currently too far into the future to transfer into industry. Supporting this, and the individuals, will also help to deliver the future thought leaders for industry. Helping to develop these people is also very much part of our corporate responsibility.”