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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S022473/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecules to Product
Principal Investigator: Martin, Professor EB
Other Investigators:
Blacker, Professor AJ Harbottle, Dr D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AstraZeneca UK Limited Biome Technologies Britest Limited
Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre Centre for Process Innovation Limited Croda (Group)
Diamond Light Source Graz University Infineum UK Ltd
Innospec Environmental Ltd Keracol Limited, Max Planck Institutes (Grouped)
Perceptive Engineering Ltd Pfizer Procter & Gamble
SouthernUniversity of Science&Technology Sterling Pharma Solutions Ltd. Swagelok Manchester
Syngenta Universidade Estadual de Campinas University of North Dakota
University of Queensland Venator Xeros Ltd
Department: Chemical and Process Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2019 Ends: 30 September 2027 Value (£): 5,108,046
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids Design of Process systems
Particle Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Food and Drink Chemicals
Manufacturing Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel L – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The CDT in Molecules to Product addresses an overarching concern articulated by industry operating in the area of complex chemical products. It centres on the lack of a pipeline of doctoral graduates who understand the cross-scale issues that need to be addressed within the chemicals continuum. Translating their concern into a vision, the focus of the CDT is to train a new generation of research leaders with the skills and expertise to navigate the journey from a selected molecule or molecular system through to the final product that delivers the desired structure and required performance. To address this vision, three inter-related Themes form the foundation of the CDT - Product Functionalisation and Performance, Product Characterisation, and Process Modelling between Scales.

More specifically, industry has identified a real need to recruit PGR graduates with the interdisciplinary skills covered by the CDT research and training programme. As future leaders they will be instrumental in delivering enhanced process and product understanding, and hence the manufacture of a desired end effect such as taste, dissolution or stability. For example, if industry is better informed regarding the effect of the manufacturing process on existing products, can the process be made more efficient and cost effective through identifying what changes can be made to the current process? Alternatively, if there is an enhanced understanding of the effect of raw materials, could stages in the process be removed, i.e. are some stages simply historical and not needed. For radically new products that have been developed, is it possible through characterisation techniques to understand (i) the role/effect of each component/raw material on the final product; and (ii) how the product structure is impacted by the process conditions both chemical and mechanical? Finally, can predictive models be developed to realise effective scale up? Such a focus will assist industry to mitigate against wasted development time and costs allowing them to focus on products and processes where the risk of failure is reduced. Although the ethos of the CDT embraces a wide range of sectors, it will focus primarily on companies within speciality chemicals, home and personal care, fast moving consumer goods, food and beverage, and pharma/biopharma sectors.

The focus of the CDT is not singular to technical challenges: a core element will be to incorporate the concept of 'Education for Innovation' as described in The Royal Academy of Engineering Report, 'Educating engineers to drive the innovation economy'. This will be facilitated through the inclusion of innovation and enterprise as key strands within the research training programme. Through the combination of technical, entrepreneurial and business skills, the PGR students will have a unique set of skills that will set them apart from their peers and ultimately become the next generation of leaders in industry/academia.

The training and research agendas are dependent on strong engagement with multi-national companies, SMEs, start-ups and stakeholders. Core input includes the offering, and supervision of research projects; hosting of students on site for a minimum period of 3 months; the provision of mentoring to students; engagement with the training through the shaping and delivery of modules and the provision of in-house courses. Additional to this will be, where relevant, access to materials and products that form the basis of projects, the provision of software, access to on-site equipment and the loan of equipment.

In summary, the vision underpinning the CDT is too big and complex to be tackled through individual PhD projects - it is only through bringing academia and industry together from across multiple disciplines that a solution will be achievable. The CDT structure is the only route to addressing the overarching vision in a structured manner to realise delivery of the new approach to product development.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk