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Research Themes


The bio-economy research theme in the department clusters together activities around bio-based products and processes which can make a significant contribution towards sustainable and resource-efficient solutions to the global challenges we face in food, chemicals, materials, health and environmental protection. Our researchers are working on the very frontiers of bioactive chemistry including drug design, peptide chemistry, structure elucidation, agri-technology, and sensing and recognition.

The UK bio-economy – a definition

Manufacturing the Future

Advanced and high-value manufacturing is key to the growth and future economic success of all developed nations. The manufacturing the future research theme covers the underpinning physical sciences and technology that bridges the gap between the laboratory and the factory floor. Researchers in the department are pushing back boundaries between technology concept and commercialization in functional surfaces, smart materials, inkjet printing, sensing technology, simulation, sustainable processing, nano-materials formulation and materials integration.

New Materials

Advanced materials is a key enabling technology, as stated by Innovate UK, with its foundations firmly set in the physical sciences. Core to its continued success and importance is the development of new materials. Challenges being addressed in the department range from materials discovery, functional molecule design, advanced characterisation, modelling, method development to quantum technologies.