Fostering Collaboration - who does what, and how we can we get together?

27 Jun 2013

As the newly appointed Chair of the London Group, I am keen to find out more about SCI activities in the region and report back below.

I attended the University of Greenwich Research Symposium of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, where SCI sponsored the poster session. This faculty has only recently been formed, and the symposium was arranged to allow the members of its respective schools, Engineering and Science, Medway School of Pharmacy and Natural Resources Institute, to get to know what others in the same faculty were researching, and encourage collaboration.

The event was held in the Medway Campus in the Ward Room of the Pembroke Building. This impressive gothic medieval-style hall has the atmosphere of a traditional school hall, but with modern fittings. Thankfully it lacked any draughts and gloominess.

The talks were attended by approximately 75 people and it was clear that the faculty has a good research basis, with strong links to industry as well as a dedication to teaching. Many of the lecturers introduced the research generated by their students which they would be presented at the poster session later. One of these was research student Dr Tatima Christides.

Many of the speakers discussed projects funded by industrial sponsors. Dr Rob Berry is researching the bulk flow of materials like flour. His projects compare funnel shapes to allow materials to flow under gravity, and is sponsored by companies as diverse as GlaxoSmithKline and United Biscuits.

Dr Alan Arokiam spoke about his work computer modelling manufacturing processes to find efficiency improvements. He highlighted work at Ford's factory at Dagenham, where engines are manufactured. Some of our speakers explained their route from research to commercialisation. Examples here included carbon negative blocks developed by Dr Colin Hills and stents for treating coronary heart disease developed by Dr Dennis Dourouamis.

Other hot topics being researched include the development of photovoltaics, to utilise the sun's energy to break water into hydrogen and oxygen; and increasing efficiency of food production and storage, to reduce waste and help to feed the world's growing population.

There was much discussion during the tea and lunch breaks between those from different schools and with those from the industrial sponsors attending, including GSK. I hope this will be the start of some multi-disciplinary projects across the faculty and made it an enjoyable as well as informative experience for all those who came.

Claire Skipper
Chair, SCI London Group

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