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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N032861/1
Title: UK Fluids Network
Principal Investigator: Juniper, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Linden, Professor PF
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Aberystwyth University Arup Group Ltd Bangor University
BP Breathing Buildings Limited Brunel University London
Cambridge Env Res Consultants Ltd (CERC) City, University of London Cranfield University
Durham, University of Dyson Technology J.M. Burgerscentrum
Keele University Lancaster University Loughborough University
Manchester Metropolitan University Met Office National Physical Laboratory
Newcastle University Northumbria, University of Queen Mary University of London
Rolls-Royce Plc (UK) Schlumberger Swansea University
UCL University of Aberdeen University of Bath
University of Birmingham University of Brighton University of Bristol
University of Dundee University of East Anglia University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter University of Glasgow University of Leicester
University of Liverpool University of Nottingham University of Oxford
University of Plymouth University of Reading University of Sheffield
University of St Andrews University of Strathclyde University of Surrey
University of Warwick
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Network
Starts: 01 September 2016 Ends: 29 February 2020 Value (£): 811,714
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Aerodynamics Continuum Mechanics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Related Grants:
EP/N032934/1 EP/N032411/1 EP/N032152/1 EP/P000851/1
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Apr 2016 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 13 April 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Fluid mechanics underpins many established and emerging UK industries as well as critical societal issues such as climate science and energy consumption. Fluid mechanics research in the UK remains world-class across several dozen institutions. However, with the recent concentration of research council funding in a few universities, a network across institutions is needed to ensure that academic and industrial researchers can access the widest pool of expertise and resources, and can continue to innovate in critical emerging areas. The strategic mission of the UK Fluids Network is to keep the UK an international focal point for innovative, relevant, and impactful fluid mechanics, to engage as a group with industry, and to build leadership within the community.

Early developments in fluid mechanics research were motivated by aerodynamics and this remains an important branch of the subject; Rolls-Royce, Airbus, and BAE Systems are 3 of the 6 most named partners in the Dowling review of Business-University Research Collaborations. As the subject has matured, a wide range of inter-disciplinary applications have emerged within research council priority areas. Examples include complex fluids and rheology, carbon capture and storage, and many aspects of the Energy challenge theme and Manufacturing the Future initiative.

Fluid mechanics research in the UK remains world-class across many groups. In EPSRC's 2010 International Review of Mathematical Sciences, UK fluid mechanics research was described as ahead of Asian countries and the rest of Europe, behind only the US. However, there are on-going challenges to identify and fund critical emerging areas, to attract international investment against increasingly well-funded competition, to engage companies that have never participated in collaborations, and to respond to changing research council funding models. The aim of the network is to enable the UK fluid mechanics community to meet these challenges.

There are around 20 joint efforts in the UK fluid mechanics community, many supported by research councils or InnovateUK. These are discipline-specific, such as the UK Turbulence consortium, the UK Applied Aerodynamics consortium, and the Industrial Mathematics KTN, or application-specific, such as the Aerospace Technology Institute, the Energy Generation and Supply KTN, and the Transport KTN. These focus on a limited set of established areas and therefore cover only a fraction of UK fluid mechanics activity. Many emerging areas, which have the biggest potential to create major step changes, fall between the cracks. The UKFN will complement these joint efforts, facilitating inter-disciplinary research and engagement with industry, and also support 40 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that address industrial, scientific, and societal challenges outside existing joint efforts.

The UKFN draws inspiration from existing overseas networks. The Dutch Burgerscentrum (www.jmburgerscentrum.nl) enhances international visibility and national influence for Dutch fluid mechanics research. The European Research Community on Flow, Turbulence, and Combustion (ERCOFTAC www.ercoftac.org) organises SIGs, best practice guidelines, and industry events. The European Mechanics Society (www.euromech.org) organises conferences and colloquia. The American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics (APS-DFD) coordinates the US fluid mechanics community in advocacy to funding agencies. There are similar organisations in India and China. The activities proposed for the UKFN are designed to have similar impact for the UK.

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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk