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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L015579/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Theory and Simulation of Materials
Principal Investigator: Mostofi, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Sutton, Professor AP
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Argonne National Laboratory Baker Hughes (Europe) Ltd BP
Culham Centre for Fusion Energy Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL Element Six
Johnson Matthey Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Materials Design, Inc. Max Planck Institutes Paul Scherrer Institute
PRECISE Center, University of Pennsylvan Rolls-Royce Plc (UK) Swiss Federal Inst of Technology (EPFL)
United States Airforce
Department: Physics
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2014 Ends: 07 January 2023 Value (£): 4,411,439
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Condensed Matter Physics Materials Characterisation
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Manufacturing
Chemicals Construction
Electronics Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel N Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The mission of the EPSRC CDT in Theory and Simulation of Materials (TSM) is to create a generation of scientists and engineers with the theoretical and computational abilities to model properties and processes within materials across a range of length- and time-scales. It aims to provide a multidisciplinary training to meet the need for versatile researchers capable of using the whole range of tools available to provide a holistic treatment of materials challenges relevant to industry and academe.

The impact of materials on our economy is both vast in its scope and deep in its reach, since it is materials that place practical limits on the efficiency, reliability and cost of almost all modern technologies. These include: energy generation from nuclear and renewable sources; energy storage and supply; land-based and air transportation; electronic and optical devices; defence and security; healthcare; the environment.

In recent years there have been significant advances in the predictive capability of computational tools for TSM. By providing fundamental understanding of underlying physical processes and mechanisms TSM is an indispensable pillar of modern research on materials. Computational materials science and engineering is changing how new materials are discovered, developed, and applied, from the macroscale to the nanoscale.

Citation statistics show that research activity in TSM is growing at about twice the average rate for all fields. At the same time industrial demand for skills in TSM is also growing. A recent report presented evidence that a sizeable fraction of the 650 top companies worldwide by R&D spend in sectors relevant to materials have in-house staff working on TSM. The translation of TSM from academic inventors to industrial users has resulted from professional software development producing reliable tools with accessible interfaces.

Training is a critical issue worldwide, both due to the limited computer programming skills of graduates and the multidisciplinary nature of research in materials. Many important phenomena in materials involve processes that take place over a range of length- and time-scales. However UK doctoral training in computational science typically focuses on single codes covering just one scale. There is an urgent need to train a new generation of doctoral students who are both confident and competent in using tools and theory across the scales from the level of electronic structure (physics and chemistry), through microstructure (materials science) to the continuum level (engineering). Versatile researchers like this are sought by industry because they can identify and use the right tools to treat problems comprehensively.

The research theme of the TSM-CDT is therefore "bridging length- and time-scales". For their research projects students will have two supervisors working at complementary scales, normally from different departments, bringing together the perspectives of two disciplines on a common problem. This approach has already created new collaborations across nine departments at Imperial and further afield through the Thomas Young Centre, the London Centre for TSM.

The CDT has adopted a 1+3 training model, consisting of a 12-month Master's in TSM in year 1 followed by the PhD in years 2-4. The aim of the Master's is to provide a rigorous training in theoretical methods and simulation techniques. It is multidisciplinary in nature, taught by staff from six departments and it is the only course of its kind in the UK.

Cohort building is promoted by the Master's course, and the ethos of the CDT encourages collaboration and student ownership of the programme. The network provided by the cohort ensures that students appreciate the wider context of their research projects across disciplines. The student experience is further enhanced by bespoke professional skills courses, outreach activities, master classes and the option to work on projects with industry.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk