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Advanced Materials

Our Advanced Materials programme has expertise to cover everything from materials synthesis, analysis and characterisation through to processing and device fabrication.

Funding of almost £20m has enabled us to invest in scientific equipment and facilities at the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick – in physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, metallurgy and materials, and chemistry.

State-of-the-art equipment and facilities are available to businesses, as well as other higher education institutions, and help us develop extensive research capability in areas such as nanotechnology, coatings and surfaces, multifunctional materials, biomaterials and fracture and fatigue analysis.

Projects and research

There are two projects in the Advanced Materials programme, each with their own research themes:

1. Creating and characterising next generation advanced materials

  • Nano-structured materials - surfaces and coatings
  • Multi-functional materials
  • Advanced characterisation and analysis

2. Innovative uses of advanced materials in the modern world

  • Biosensors - diagnostics, biosecurity, nanoparticles, biomedical applications
  • Smart biomaterials - medical and dental materials, scaffolds for cell growth, bioconjugates, drug delivery
  • Sensors for harsh and complex environments - online monitoring, materials processing, composite material fabrication
  • Molecular electronics - batteries, electronic data storage, nanolithography, display technology
  • Solar cells and photovoltaics - renewable energy, semiconductor thin films, increasing efficiency, reducing cost
  • Control and storage of hazardous compounds - immobilisation, encapsulation, environmental impact

What we can offer businesses

Advice and consultancy from leading materials experts – leading academics across a range of subjects and specialisms.

Collaborative research - collaborative R&D is a flexible and cost-effective way for companies to undertake research. By working with us you can minimise risk and widen your research horizons.

Access to equipment, expert technical personnel and training - state-of-the-art equipment at the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick, for which we offer measurement and analysis via expert personnel. We can also train your staff one-to-one in using particular equipment.

Joint opportunities for research funding - working in partnership with the universities can help leverage new research funding or access exploitation opportunities. We offer a range of support in developing joint proposals.

Seminars, workshops and briefings - we bring academics, industry and business networks together at workshops
and events which showcase the latest research technology and innovation.

Internships and placements - doctoral projects or internships are examples of a low cost way to pursue your company's R&D strategy.

University intellectual property (IP) - we can agree exploitation rights on IP created in collaboration with your business. We can also discuss how you can exploit IP which has already been independently developed through our research.

Analysis, testing and characterisation - we undertake a wide range of one-off and routine testing in all classes of materials.


  • To proactively engage industry in forming partnerships with the project to encourage investment in the research and development within the West Midlands and to support in the development of a vibrant cluster of advanced materials related businesses within the region (for example, through inward investment, development of start-ups, licensing opportunities etc).
  • To develop new materials and technologies in the advanced materials arena and promote these technology advances to regional, national and international companies to develop and commercialise.
  • To establish and equip world-class laboratories for facilitating the development of international-quality research into the nano-scale development and characterisation of new advanced materials or radically altering the properties of existing materials.
  • To create an environment where the complementarity in fundamental and applied materials science research within the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham can be encouraged and grown.
  • To deliver world-leading materials science research through collaborative programmes of research between the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick and third parties (including research and technology organisations and industry).
  • To establish a critical mass of research activity enabling the West Midlands to compete at national and international levels for R&D funding and investment.
  • To deliver a supply of high-quality, highly skilled materials scientists and technology graduates to the region.