Research interests within the School of Built Environment and Engineering span the two key areas of the School: Built Environment and General Engineering.
Built Environment Research
Research in the Built Environment is represented by the Inclusive and Sustainable Environments (IaSE) research group. IaSE creates a focus for the development and growth of research in Built Environment disciplines through themed research sub-groups and cross-disciplinary networks.
General Engineering, demonstrating research interests in technical textiles (fire and heat resistant, medical and geotextiles), recycled textiles, auxetic materials and dielectrics and fields, engineering composites, crashworthiness and manufacturing, focuses on the Engineering and Design interests within the School, and is coordinated through a number of research groups, working in conjunction with colleagues from across the University.
Engineering materials and applications have been identified as a single research strength for investment and growth within a general engineering context. Thus the University's previously separate materials and engineering research has been integrated into a single composite of five research groups which cover the continuum from materials science to materials engineering and related applications in an integrative, interactive, interdisciplinary and synergistic manner. One has world-leading stature (the Fire Materials Group) and two have small teams with leading international presence in auxetics and crashworthiness.
These groups are as follows:
The combined general engineering research group has 20 academic staff, including 12 professors, 2 visiting professors, 8 post doctoral research associates, 1 senior scientific officer and 35 full time equivalent research students.
The success of our interactive strategy is illustrated by research into composites which considers fundamental materials behaviour on the one hand (eg modelling of structures, auxetic reinforcements) through to performance (fire resistance, impact) and applications (aerospace, automotive) on the other. Similarly research into ballistic textiles and composites involves novel fibre and textile engineering coupled with impact and penetration research.
The combined group's success since RAE 2001 is demonstrated by the following:
> 340 publications in refereed journals
> 30 patent applications/patents granted.
£3.60m research income
30 postgraduate students achieving the award of MPhil(2)/PhD(28)
The main objectives for the next 5 years and beyond are to build our strategy with particular focus on improving our research strengths in engineering composites for protective, aerospace and automotive applications, novel fire smart materials, sensored and smart engineered materials and components, including medical devices. We expect to maintain our world lead within the fire materials area where increased modelling research will be a key feature, and raise our currently high stature in auxetics and crashworthiness, while gaining international prominence in MEMS and medical device engineering.
Research Culture and Management
Complementing the university's investment in infrastructure and personnel, the research culture is developed via guest professorial lectures and a monthly research forum programme to which externally invited speakers and research students and Post Doctoral Research Associates present their work. Interactions between research groups is nurtured via joint funding proposals and awards. All researchers are encouraged to present papers at international conferences and so extend their own personal research networks.