Industrial Doctorate Centre in Composites Manufacture: Showcase 2023

The Industrial Doctorate Centre welcomed over 40 guests to the annual Showcase event, on the 19th September 2023, held at the Watershed in Bristol. The event was followed by a gala dinner at Bristol Harbour Hotel.

The Industrial Doctorate Centre in Composites Manufacture has now reached its 10th year, and over this time, 31 students have graduated with an EngD in Composites Manufacture. The day before the event we welcomed five new students to the IDC, bringing the total number of students currently enrolled to 20. The new students were excited to attend the Showcase along with existing IDC students, alumni, academic and industrial supervisors, and joined by a group specially invited  VIP guests, with strong connections to the UK composites sector. It was a great opportunity for students to present their research work to a wider audience and network within the industry.

The day consisted of 3 oral presentations sessions and a quick-fire poster session all chaired by the IDC alumni. The presentations from our students ranged from topics in advanced manufacturing techniques, new approaches to testing wind turbine blades, process simulation and effect of cryogenic exposure on composites. A focus of the showcase was sustainability, this was brought in to context in a fantastic keynote speech from Dr Ffion Rodes. One of the ambitions for the IDC is for our students to create their own spinouts and companies. Dr Tomasz Garstka a PhD alumni from Bristol Composites Institute has done just that creating his company LMAT. Tomasz gave an excellent keynote presentation  on how he turned his academic research into a commercial tool for composite tooling.


The Showcase ended with a very lively panel discussion, chaired by Professor Mike Hinton of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The panel comprised  Dr Anna Scott Magma Global; Dr Petar Zivkovic Airbus; Dr Peter Giddings NCC; Dr Faye Smith, Avalon Consultancy; Professor Paul Hogg, Royal Holloway University of London; Janet Mitchell, MC2Consultants.

The panel were asked to discuss how can industrially-based doctoral research help unlock the potential of composites in achieving a Net Zero? The topics discussed included: Understanding better how digital technologies can help accelerate our learning; start thinking of composites as an enabler to protect our way of life by integrating sustainability at the design stage, creating a template for LCA that can be used in all projects; extended in-service life of composites and life extension programmes; smarter testing to reduce waste and move to virtual tests for certification; take steps to eliminate trial and error approaches in manufacturing; move away from the driven by rate approach.

The event was a great success with engaging discussions throughout the day carrying on into the evening at the reception and the gala dinner.

Professor Janice Barton, Director of the IDC was delighted with the day and said “It was fantastic to see our students present their work with confidence and realising they are making a significant difference to their sponsoring companies and to wider society”.

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