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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T007354/1
Title: The British Liquid Crystal Society Annual Training Workshops (2019-21)
Principal Investigator: Chakrabarti, Dr D
Other Investigators:
Preece, Professor JA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2019 Ends: 31 December 2021 Value (£): 61,808
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Jul 2019 EPSRC Physical Sciences - July 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Liquid crystals are an important class of soft materials, because they not only have been key to our fundamental understanding of soft materials, but also have a variety of technological applications critical to the economy. Liquid crystal display (LCD) technology provides the backbone of the global market of flat-panel displays, which is currently worth over £100 bn. Their attractive opto-electrical and stimuli-responsive properties also make them suitable for non-display applications. The development of the LCD technology, in particular, is a triumph of combined basic and applied research at the crossroads of traditional disciplines of physics, chemistry, mathematics and engineering, initiated by pioneering work in the UK.

The development of new liquid-crystal technologies to meet the need of the 21st century requires innovation underpinned by a strong knowledge-base in the interdisciplinary field of liquid-crystal research. It is undoubtedly a matter of national importance to continue the supply of highly trained and skilled researchers with expertise in core liquid-crystal research as well as in its interfaces in the broader context of soft and biological matter for fully harnessing the potential of this exciting field of research and for the UK liquid-crystal community to continue to hold an edge over its competitors.

In this proposal, we propose to organise an Annual Training Workshop on behalf of the British Liquid Crystal Society at the University of Birmingham for three consecutive years (2019-21). The proposed workshop, a three-day event held annually, is intended to provide novices in the field of liquid-crystal research with the necessary interdisciplinary background and an exposure to the field of soft and biological matter relevant to the widening scope of liquid-crystal research. Such an exposure is critical to securing the breadth of knowledge, which, in particular, is necessary to work in the areas of emerging applications and foster collaboratin across disciplines. The workshop will bring early-stage and experienced researchers, drawn from academia, industry and beyond, together on a cross-disciplinary platform for exchange of knowledge, development of practical skills and fostering of new ideas. We envisage the early-stage researchers to be primarily PhD students, but they could also be post-doctoral research associates and researchers in industry relatively new to the field of liquid-crystal research, irrespective of their academic backgrounds.

While the lectures and practical training sessions in the first two days will be predominantly focused on aspects of core liquid-crystal research, the third day's programme will build on this foundation and highlight recent developments at the interfaces of liquid-crystal research within the broader field of soft and biological matter. There will be a mini-symposium in the afternoon, called "Liquid-Crystal Research in the 2020s", which will discuss emerging questions and open problems in liquid-crystal research and at its interfaces.

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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk