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Posted: May 19, 2011
NanoKTN announces winners of its 2011 EPSRC Collaborative Studentships
(Nanowerk News) The NanoKTN in the UK has announced that its allocation of this year's EPSRC CASE Awards has been awarded to the University of Bath, collaborating with Pilkington Group Ltd, and Manchester's Metropolitan University, collaborating with United Utilities, which encourages and enables collaboration of Universities with UK based companies. These projects will look at the development of photocatalytic coatings for self-cleaning and architectural glazing applications, and smart nanomaterials for the detection of natural (and) synthetic pollutants.
The collaborative studentships are allocated by UK Research Councils and are a unique way of linking academic research with industrial need. Collaborative studentships are supported by companies that offer funding to students, in addition to their already secured EPSRC funding. By offering these opportunities, companies hope they will encourage development into the UK's strong nanotechnology market and gain from the research that is undertaken.
The University of Bath will seek to explore chemical vapour deposition (CVD) as a route to coloured and photoactive transition metal-doped titania thin films. In common with related Pilkington technologies, the fabrication of a product will require the application of a coating process based upon large area atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition (APCVD). The primary goal of the project will be the development of multicomponent systems and, where necessary, single-source precursors for the APCVD of coloured, transition metal-doped titania thin films.
In the second project, Manchester's Metropolitan University has been awarded funding to research a multifunctional core shell nanoparticle system that allows functional layers to be built up, utilising many unique material properties. Development of a cost-effective nanomaterial that is capable of detecting tiny concentrations of synthetic hormones in water will constitute a major scientific breakthrough of significant environmental benefit, and of great importance to the water and environmental industries, in addition to Governmental agencies. Sensitive biological assay kits and home waterfilters are just a few of the potential ways that the material can be exploited commercially, in addition to the substantial benefits for environmental protection and human health.
The NanoKTN's annual involvement aims to encourage young scientists and engineers to promote the underlying potential of emerging micro and nanotechnologies and to raise the profile of UK academic research in nanotechnology, as well as providing networking opportunities between researchers and members of UK business communities.
Previous 2009 CASE Award winner, Dr Woei Ping Cheng, Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics, University of Hertfordshire has found the scheme instrumental in her academic development, "This NanoKTN CASE award has been valuable to me as an academic, as for the first time I have had the opportunity to work directly with an SME, providing an insight into how the pharmaceutical industry works and what is important commercially for them. I am extremely hopeful that this project will lead to future collaborative projects.'
Another 2009 CASE award winner, Dr Edward Lester of the University of Nottingham adds, "The project is going well and it has been a real benefit to have a NanoKTN case project where a specialist SME (Promethean Particles) can work with the University on a project with so many different possibilities. Significant commercial interest has been developing around the use of these new materials."
"The Industrial CASE awards are a unique way of linking academic research with industrial need. We've had an exceptionally high number of applications this year, all of which were of a very high standard. This is great for UK industry and a reflection on the growth and strength of our academic research base," explains Alec Reader, Director at the NanoKTN.