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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P007279/2
Title: Phase III of The Directed Assembly EPRSC Grand Challenge Network: From Discovery to Translation
Principal Investigator: Makatsoris, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Raithby, Professor PR
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
iFormulate Johnson Matthey Pfizer
Department: Engineering
Organisation: Kings College London
Scheme: Network
Starts: 28 October 2019 Ends: 30 September 2020 Value (£): 91,322
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Structure
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The vision of the Network is to be able to control the assembly of matter with sufficient certainty and precision to allow preparation of materials and molecular assemblies with far more sophisticated and tuneable properties and functions than are accessible in materials synthesised using current methods.

In this Grand Challenge we aim to gain unprecedented control of the assembly of molecules that are the building blocks of many functional materials, consumer and industrial products. We start by understanding the assembly of the very small, but methods we explore will allow production of new types of useful materials at a whole range of length scales from the nanoscale to the everyday. Such materials will have outstanding impact in areas of societal importance such as personalised healthcare and food production, transport systems and fuel production, housing construction and consumer electronics.

Through this intelligent approach to design we will compete effectively with the USA, Japan and mainland Europe to place the UK firmly at the forefront of developments in the areas of manufacturing, healthcare and energy.

The added value that the Network provides is in gathering the widest group of internationally-leading expert scientists from across a range of disciplines in the UK, and providing them with a challenge, a focus and a vision that they help shape.

On-going economic prosperity in the UK is critically dependent on having a competitive, high-tech manufacturing industry.

Some areas of the Directed Assembly Network's activities address barriers to progress in existing industries; others will create the transformative industries of the future. Society is challenged by a growing and aging population, and through declining natural resources. The goals we reach for will drive great breakthroughs in healthcare and offer alternatives to harvesting our limited reserves.

The UK has already been identified as being world-class or world-leading in many of the individual disciplines needed to tackle these targets, but real breakthroughs will only be made by harnessing interdisciplinary excellence from across the UK - the Directed Assembly Network is key to the formation and maintenance of this interdisciplinary community. Other countries are already investing heavily in programmes to progress materials science; by adopting the recommendations above, the UK can enhance its scientific capability and keep pace at international levels, develop absorptive capacity and retain the competitive advantage needed to be a world player in the field of future manufacturing.

Since its launch in 2010, the DAGCN has become embedded into the culture of those working in Directed Assembly and is known as a place to go to for mentoring, advice and support. The Network has awarded 23 pump-priming grants over the last four years. These, together with meetings have been instrumental in leveraging approximately £50M of major grant funding. A community of 970 multi-disciplinary members from across the UK, including 112 industry members and 260 early career researchers has been engaged, nurtured and brought together with a common aim: the Directed Assembly Grand Challenge. Over 45 meetings have been held directly that have led to 80 new collaborations. A culture change has been widely noted since the inception of the Network in both the way rival companies now commonly work together at pre-competitive stages, and, different types of scientists now see each-other as invaluable towards achieving strong relationships and results. Researcher mobility through travel grants and pump-priming projects has contributed to data and equipment sharing, notwithstanding the skills development of the UK research base. The vast 970 community has been engaged consistently and led to a Roadmap setting out the vision for the next 5-50 years.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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