In June 2012, funding of £3.9m was awarded to Bristol by EPSRC to establish an EngD Industrial Doctorate Centre in Composites Manufacture. Bristol secured additional funding of £3.7m from EPSRC in March 2014, to extend the lifetime of the Centre, which is linked to Bristol's National Composites Centre. The IDC forms an integral activity of the Nottingham-led EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub, to address the urgent and growing need for technically qualified individuals in the UK polymer composites manufacturing sector.
The IDC will deliver 70+ Research Engineer graduates who will become future leaders in the composites manufacturing industry in the UK, capable of making a positive and rapid impact on the UK's international manufacturing competitiveness. The Research Engineers are based in industry and at the National Composites Centre (NCC), placing them appropriately for research into the application of composites at higher technology readiness level than a traditional university-based PhD. They also benefit from participation in bespoke taught modules in composites specifically tailored to the needs of the manufacturing engineer, developed in order to fill an existing gap in UK higher level education in this specialist area. These modules are delivered by the four partner Universities: Cranfield, Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester, with strong involvement from the industrial partners and the NCC.