AMRC launches Industrial Doctorate Centre

03 February 2011

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing is launching a new Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) to help the brightest engineering postgraduates work with industry to develop new technologies and skills.

The new centre, to be operated jointly by the AMRC and Department of Mechanical Engineering, will provide engineering doctorate (EngD) training with a focus on machining science. EngD is a well-established programme for talented postgraduate engineers who want a career in industry, providing a vocationally-oriented alternative to the traditional PhD.

The industrial doctorate combines taught modules to bring students up to best industrial practice, with original research based on real business problems, brought together under a common theme.

The Sheffield IDC will be based at the AMRC's facilities on the Advanced Manufacturing Park. Starting in Autumn 2011, it will take in an initial five postgraduate students per year for four years, with each studying for four years of fully-funded research. Once the centre is established, it will take in up to 20 students per year.

Professor Keith Ridgway, research director at the AMRC with Boeing, says:
"This new doctorate centre gives the AMRC a valuable new resource in our mission to carry out world-class research in collaboration with our industrial partners, and maintain our position as a global centre of research excellence.

"Students will have the opportunity to work in our state-of-the-art facilities alongside our world-leading experts in machining science, carrying out research of real technical and commercial significance.

"We encourage AMRC members and the wider business community to become involved and sponsor students, and build relationships with the most talented young engineers at the start of their careers."

The Sheffield centre is one of five nationwide to secure stimulus funding from EPSRC. The research council is providing £1.25 million towards launch costs, with the remainder coming from the universities and industrial partners.

The Sheffield IDC is supported by global businesses including Boeing, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Messier-Dowty, and leading local manufacturers such as Technicut and Dormer Tools. The new centre will also encourage SMEs to become involved with research students, allowing the regional manufacturing base to benefit from the brightest engineering talent.

David Fothergill, managing director at Technicut, says:
"We are looking forward to supporting the AMRC Industrial Doctorate Centre, which provides manufacturing businesses in Sheffield and beyond the opportunity to work with leading engineering graduates in a state-of-the-art environment. This kind of collaboration is important for us to continue to develop our global competitiveness in optimised aerospace tooling solutions."

The other new IDCs, all focused on materials, mechanical and medical engineering, are at the University of Strathclyde Advanced Forming Research Centre; the Manufacturing Technology Centre at Nottingham, Birmingham and Loughborough Universities; Warwick University's Manufacturing Group; and Swansea University's College of Engineering.

Announcing the new IDCs during a visit to Loughborough University, David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, said: "These new centres will generate a new wave of engineers with the knowledge and skills needed to become future business leaders and create new innovation and economic growth for the UK. "They focus on key areas of advanced manufacturing, which are vital to the UK's major industrial sectors including the aerospace and automotive industry. These talented young innovators will help fuel future economic growth for the UK."