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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V001108/1
Title: UK Design for Additive Manufacturing Network
Principal Investigator: PRADEL, Dr P
Other Investigators:
Rennie, Dr AEW
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
The Manufacturing Technology Centre Ltd
Department: Loughborough Design School
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: Network
Starts: 01 June 2020 Ends: 31 July 2022 Value (£): 118,020
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Design & Testing Technology Manufact. Business Strategy
Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Apr 2020 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 7 and 8 April 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This network grant aims at bringing together researchers working in different areas of Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) to enhance communication between groups, provide a focus for collaboration and innovation, and to maximise the future impact of DfAM-based research in the UK.

Additive Manufacturing (AM), also referred to as 3D Printing, has the potential to transform many UK industries thanks to its unique capabilities, such as the ability to produce extremely complex shapes, personalise products, reshore production, consolidate components, reduce weight through material minimisation and eliminate tooling and stock holding. Design Research plays a significant role in transforming these capabilities into societal and economic impact. In fact, is through Design that AM capabilities can be exploited for the development of innovative and high-value products. Our industrial, product and engineering design research communities are fundamental in developing the knowledge that will enable UK designers and manufacturers to deliver more cost-effective and high-value products through AM. This requires co-ordination to enable a regular, free and open dialogue between academic disciplines (including design, engineering, computer scientists, mathematicians, etc.), AM technology developers and suppliers, the professional design community and the industrial user-base.

DfAM is relevant to a broad range of engineering and science disciplines of the UKRI funding portfolio, including Digital Economy (e.g. Design, Personalisation), Energy (e.g. Energy Storage), Engineering (e.g. Simulation Driven Design), Computer Sciences (e.g. CAD software), Healthcare Technologies (e.g. Biomaterials and Tissues), and Manufacturing the Future (e.g. Materials Engineering, Manufacturing Technologies, Biomaterials). This has meant that DfAM has evolved tangentially and in a fragmented manner. Although research groups across a wide range of disciplines benefit heavily from DfAM-based research, they tend not to consider their work, design-related. Whilst there is a notable success in aerospace and medical applications groups largely focus on their own discipline and there is a general lack of communication and co-ordination between knowledge domains in both industry and academia. Such fragmentation leads to a duplication of effort, a lack of awareness of the progress made in related areas, limited knowledge exchange between different sectors, inefficiencies in the growth of research capacity and crucially in the most effective use of facilities and equipment.

Moreover, as it is often seen as an enabling discipline, DfAM has never been part of an initiative to co-ordinate such research activities. In the UK the profile of DfAM continues to be limited to academia, and the discipline does not successfully present itself with a unified voice to UKRI, government agencies or the wider population. Accordingly, as the relevance of DfAM continues to grow, it is crucial that the discipline develops a more co-ordinated and unified approach to initiate adventurous multidisciplinary research projects, meet future technological and societal challenges while providing support and reaching out to other disciplines.

This proposal aims to address this gap by forming a UK DfAM Network with diverse membership and industry support. It will co-ordinate the UK's DfAM research, facilitate the identification of common interests, foster knowledge transfer and accelerate the impact of DfAM research in the UK. The DfAM Network will draw together researchers through meetings, workshops, seminars, visits to facilities and laboratories, and a well-co-ordinated web presence.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk