Metallurgy forges ahead: FUNDING

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<ul><li><p>POLICY NEWS</p><p>New funding brings a welcome focus to</p><p>metals research in the UK.</p><p>The University of Sheffield has received</p><p>$6 million in funding for IMMPETUS,</p><p>the Institute for Microstructural and</p><p>Mechanical Process Engineering. The</p><p>five-year package from the Engineering</p><p>and Physical Sciences Research</p><p>Council (EPSRC) will allow the institute</p><p>to launch the next phase of its work.</p><p>In todays ferrous and non-ferrous</p><p>metals industries, the ability to develop</p><p>new materials fast and efficiently is key</p><p>to success, explains co-director Mark</p><p>Rainforth. New materials were</p><p>traditionally developed through a black</p><p>art of trial and error, he says.</p><p>Companies can no longer afford the</p><p>huge waste of time and resources that</p><p>process often causes. So what we do</p><p>is help them produce it right first</p><p>time. By pooling the expertise of</p><p>various university departments,</p><p>IMMPETUS researchers are using</p><p>analysis of the effects of heat and</p><p>force on materials to generate</p><p>computer models. This through-</p><p>process modeling can predict the</p><p>behavior of new models and products,</p><p>as well as be used to control</p><p>production processes.</p><p>In another related effort, Industry</p><p>Minister Alan Johnson announced the</p><p>launch of the National Metals</p><p>Technology Centre (NAMTEC). </p><p>Metals are the backbone of</p><p>manufacturing industry in the UK,</p><p>explains Johnson. There are half a</p><p>million people working in 16 000</p><p>companies in the production and</p><p>fabrication of metals in the UK,</p><p>generating around $46 billion per year.</p><p>Now for the first time this essential</p><p>sector will have a one-stop-shop for</p><p>support and advice. With funding of</p><p>over $30 million, NAMTEC aims to</p><p>encourage innovation and technology</p><p>transfer in the metals industry.</p><p>Metallurgyforges aheadFUNDING</p><p>The US Government's Advanced</p><p>Technology Program (ATP) announces</p><p>the award of $101.6 million to 40</p><p>research projects. Started by the first</p><p>President Bush, the ATP has attracted</p><p>much criticism over the years and saw</p><p>its budget slashed by the current</p><p>President Bush. Nevertheless, the ATP</p><p>is a lifeline for many small companies </p><p>particularly in areas venture capitalists</p><p>deem too risky such as telecoms or</p><p>nanotechnology. </p><p>On the materials side, funding goes to</p><p>American Superconductor Corp. to</p><p>develop processing equipment for</p><p>YBCO wires and laser deposition for</p><p>titanium alloy manufacture (Optomec,</p><p>Inc.). Falling into the electronics</p><p>category, projects will aim to develop</p><p>continuous Si wafer manufacturing</p><p>(ASE Americas, Inc.), piezoelectric</p><p>ceramics for medical devices</p><p>(Piezotech, LLC), printable organic</p><p>transistors (Sarnoff Corp.), and</p><p>rewriteable recording media for</p><p>holographic data storage (InPhase</p><p>Technologies, Inc.). In nanotechnology</p><p>and telecoms, projects include the</p><p>ultrahigh density scalable digital control</p><p>of MEMS (Corning IntelliSense Corp.),</p><p>MEMS mirror arrays for optical</p><p>switching (SiWave, Inc.),</p><p>nanoengineered thermal interfaces and</p><p>templates for nanostructured material</p><p>synthesis (GE), nanophotonic</p><p>integrated circuits (Luxtera, Inc.),</p><p>nanocomposite foams for insulation</p><p>(Owens Corning), and high-throughput</p><p>production of nanofibers (eSpin</p><p>Technologies, Inc.). As founder and</p><p>CEO of eSpin Jayesh Doshi explains,</p><p>This award not only allows eSpin to</p><p>develop the technology, but will create</p><p>an engine of technology creation</p><p>around nanofiber-based products in the</p><p>area. eSpins disruptive technology</p><p>could revolutionize everyday products</p><p>from batteries to band aids, he says.</p><p>ATP lifeline for companiesFUNDING </p><p>Boost for UK manufacturersFUNDING</p><p>Six new Faraday Partnerships will give UK manufacturers a realboost, according to Trade and Industry Secretary PatriciaHewitt. They make the most of developments in science andinnovation crucial to raising productivity, she says. Theymean companies can take advantage of the world-class ideascoming from universities and research institutions. Since 1998, 18 Faraday Partnerships have been establishedwith the aim of bringing together researchers with companiesof all sizes through two or more core partners, such asuniversities or independent research/technology organizations.The latest Partnerships, which will receive over $10 millionfrom the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and $9 millionfrom other sources over the next four years, range from farmanimal breeding to satellite navigation systems. Three focus on materials related fields. The medical devicesPartnership brings together the Universities of Cambridge,Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield, Strathclyde, and Queen MaryCollege with TWI, E-Tech Ltd., M4 Technologies Ltd., andMedilink Ltd. Key challenges include the development ofclinically robust devices, improved materials and surfaceengineering concepts, and novel drug delivery systems.Another Partnership addresses the multi-million dollar powdermanufacturing market. Core partners CERAM Research Ltd,European Powder Metallurgy Association, British HardmetalsAssociation, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining,National Physical Laboratory, UMIST, and Universities ofBirmingham and Loughborough will focus on four areas:advanced ceramics, powder metallurgy, magnetic materials, andhardmetals. Aims range from developing new products to moreflexible and rapid manufacturing methods. The use ofnanopowders and novel components will also be investigated, aswell as low waste, environment-friendly sustainable products.The final materials-related Partnership focuses on noveltechnologies and processes for the minimization of industrialwaste. Electronics, minerals and inorganics, food, metals andmetal finishing are identified as four areas with specificproblems that need to be addressed by the core partners,which include companies, societies, and universities.</p><p>University of London reunited?MERGERS</p><p>Imperial College and University College London have announced theirintention to merge to form a new University, of great national andinternational significance, appropriate for the Third Millennium. In acarefully worded statement, the universities say that they are going toembark on a collaborative process that could lead to the decision tomerge in light of opportunities in the globalization of education andresearch, and their interpretation of current Government policy inthese areas. The new university would bring together just over 27 000 students and around 6500 academic and research staff, with a collective research budget of over $430 million (based on2000/1 funding levels).</p><p>December 2002 23</p></li></ul>