Data technology abstract futuristic illustration . Low poly shape with connecting dots and lines on dark background. 3D rendering . Big data visualization .

Royce Materials 4.0 CDT set to train the next generation of Pioneering Digital Materials Scientists

A new Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Materials 4.0 Centre for Doctoral Training will train over 70 researchers with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to ensure national capability in Materials 4.0 a scientific discipline which aims to radically advance the rate and responsiveness of materials innovation, increasing the impact it has on both society and the economy.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Developing National Capability for Materials 4.0 with the Henry Royce Institute, part of an exciting new wave of CDTs announced today by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, will meet the need for increased digitisation within materials science and innovation. Its development and launch reflects that innovative materials are at the centre of all the global challenges we face, and are a key research strength in the UK.

Professor Chris Race CDT Co-Director and UKAEA Chair in Fusion Materials at Royce Partner the University of Sheffield said:

“Our new CDT is a really exciting development for the Henry Royce Institute. We are going to build a training centre to address key challenges in materials science and drive the adoption of new ways of doing research. I’m really pleased to be leading the new centre, alongside Manchester’s Will Parnell and our great team at Royce and the partner organisations.

“Building a training initiative is a daunting challenge, but I am sure it will be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to seeing our team and our training programme grow over the coming months. Training a new generation of scientists is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job, and seeing our CDT students go out into the world and apply the skills they learn in our centre will be a fantastic reward.”

Professor Will Parnell CDT Co-Director and Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Manchester said:

Materials 4.0 is a very exciting new field, combining a range of digital research tools that will allow us to innovate the way that we do materials science and in particular, to design new and improved materials and materials systems. As a relatively new area of research, it’s important that we establish a strong training centre to train a large number of PhD students with a new set of skills, and this CDT will do precisely this.

I’m looking forward to Directing the Centre, together with Chris Race from the University of Sheffield.  Our fantastic range of academic and external partners across the UK, and the Henry Royce institute, will add huge value to the Centre. These organisations, in concert with the students that the centre will train, will help society to tackle critically important challenges that we are facing over the next 50 years.

Professor David Knowles, Henry Royce Institute CEO, said:

We are currently in the middle of developing a National Materials Innovation Strategy which has involved a huge consultation across industry.  All these discussions have highlighted the need for skills in Materials 4.0 to tackle a whole host of opportunities which the digital revolution affords the sector from new materials discovery to digital fingerprints.

This exciting Royce CDT will develop a new cadre of scientists and engineers who will be able to help us realise the potential of the digital and data revolutions in materials scienceand keep the UK at the forefront of materials innovation. The students will not only acquire new, exciting skills, they will be able to work in new ways to both develop new materials and to predict how materials perform in a range of environments – from neutron irradiation in a reactor to degradation processes in a charging battery.

Science and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan, said:

 “As innovators across the world break new ground faster than ever, it is vital that government, business and academia invests in ambitious UK talent, giving them the tools to pioneer new discoveries that benefit all our lives while creating new jobs and growing the economy.

“By targeting critical technologies including artificial intelligence and future telecoms, we are supporting world class universities across the UK to build the skills base we need to unleash the potential of future tech and maintain our country’s reputation as a hub of cutting-edge research and development.”

Professor Charlotte Deane, Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, said:

 “The Centres for Doctoral Training announced today will help to prepare the next generation of researchers, specialists and industry experts across a wide range of sectors and industries.

“Spanning locations across the UK and a wide range of disciplines, the new centres are a vivid illustration of the UK’s depth of expertise and potential, which will help us to tackle large-scale, complex challenges and benefit society and the economy.

“The high calibre of both the new centres and applicants is a testament to the abundance of research excellence across the UK, and EPSRC’s role as part of UKRI is to invest in this excellence to advance knowledge and deliver a sustainable, resilient and prosperous nation.”  

About the CDT

The Materials 4.0 Centre for Doctoral Training will train a new generation of PhD-level researchers in all aspects of digital materials science, including robotics, data science, machine learning, and sensing and control.

Learners will join a cohort of like-minded PhD students and will have a home in one of seven world leading UK research universities. They will undertake a research project supervised by a leading researcher and sponsored by industry.

The CDT will offer a range of exciting projects, involving all aspects of Materials 4.0 and will offer flexible and inclusive pathways, including part-time study and the opportunity to study whilst at work and sponsored by an employer.

The £16.5 million CDT – comprising £9.1 million from EPSRC, £5.5 million from partners and £1.9 million from Universities – will develop over 70 digital pioneers who will be recruited over the next 5 years.

Our Partners

The Centre will bring together the following expert Partners:

  • Henry Royce Institute (Royce)
  • The National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Leeds
  • The University of Manchester
  • The University of Sheffield
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • Imperial College London

The new Centre is one of 65 new Centres for Doctoral Training launched today by EPSRC receiving a total of £1 billion funding – £500 million from EPSRC and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and a further £590 million from Universities and External partners – and is the only one focussed on Materials 4.0.

The first cohort of Materials 4.0 CDT students will start in the 2024/2025 academic year, and recruitment is now underway.

To enquire email