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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S022848/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Modelling of Heterogeneous Systems
Principal Investigator: Staunton, Professor JB
Other Investigators:
Brommer, Dr P Sprittles, Dr JE Notman, Dr R
Kermode, Dr J R Nezhad, Dr MM Figiel, Dr LW
Hine, Dr NDM
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AstraZeneca AWE C3M
CEA-LETI CERMICS Dassault Systemes
Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL ESTECO S.p.A European Thermodynamics Ltd
Fluid Gravity Engineering Ltd Friedrich-Alexander Univ of Erlangen FAU Helmholtz Centre Juelich (remove)
Knowledge Transfer Network Ltd Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Max Planck Institutes (Grouped)
Morgan Advanced Materials plc (UK) Nokia Polytechnic University of Milan
Rolls-Royce Plc (UK) Ruhr University Bochum Stuttgart University
TWI Ltd UK Atomic Energy Authority University of Minnesota
University of Mons
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2019 Ends: 30 September 2027 Value (£): 5,752,474
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Condensed Matter Physics Materials Characterisation
Materials Processing Modelling & simul. of IT sys.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Energy
R&D Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Information Technologies Communications
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel G – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
HetSys students will develop and apply computational models for heterogeneous material systems, addressing three distinct but closely connected shortcomings in current modelling paradigms: (i) most material systems of scientific and technological interest are highly heterogeneous in structure, phases, and range of length- and time-scales, whereas the predominant modelling paradigms typically focus on limited scenarios; (ii) coupling of scales is typically ad hoc, thus lacking robust quantification of uncertainty propagation across scales, essential for reliable and applicable models; (iii) research software is often poorly maintained and hard to re-use, further slowing down progress. Overcoming these interdisciplinary challenges to unlock more efficient simulation-for-design capabilities has been hindered by outdated training approaches: the pathway followed by, for example, a theoretical physicist has been distinct from that of a materials engineer, with the resulting lack of a 'common language' preventing synergy across disciplines. HetSys will transform this landscape by being the first CDT explicitly targeting modelling of heterogeneous systems required by industry and academia, with all models to be implemented in robust and reusable software that produces probabilistic error bars on all outputs using uncertainty quantification (UQ). Exemplar research challenges range from novel materials and devices exploiting multiscale physics and chemistry, high performance alloys, direct drive laser fusion, future medicine exploration, smart nanofluidic interfaces, and flow through heterogeneous rocks.

HetSys' mission is to train high-quality computational scientists who can develop and implement new methods for modelling complex and heterogeneous systems in collaboration with scientists and end-users. Working in a highly interdisciplinary context is challenging even for experienced researchers but especially for an isolated PhD student. Creating a cohesive, interdisciplinary cohort connected through a joint training programme with an existing vibrant cross-departmental research community will create a culture that significantly lowers the entrance barrier into this style of research. Our multidisciplinary approach aligns with the formation of UKRI and will help to address the productivity gap identified in the industrial strategy by targeting several challenges and national priority areas. As noted by Innovate UK/KTN: "Industry requires new insight into how [materials] behave and uniquely this proposal sets the understanding of how uncertainty propagates across scales as a central theme". These benefits are recognised by industry through HetSys' strong support from 14 industrial project partners. We have also established bilateral links with 12 international partners who have identified the same urgent modelling challenges.

The potential impact of the postgraduate training is affirmed by the career destinations of the 70 students who completed their studies with the 33 HetSys supervisors since 2012: 27 have proceeded into academic research (21 postdoctoral and 6 academic posts), 28 into careers in industrial R&D and the engineering industry, 4 into IT, 2 to consultancy, 6 into school teaching and 2 to finance. The strong absorptive capacity for graduates is recognised by project partners, e.g. AWE: "given the ever growing importance that computational modelling is acquiring in the UK and internationally, there will be significant competition for the number of doctoral level scientists and engineers that you are proposing to train".

New paradigms in the study of heterogeneous materials are vital for both academic research and industry. Future impact at larger scales will be greatly increased if researchers can be trained to master a wide range of techniques and encapsulate them in well-designed software.

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.warwick.ac.uk