UK Metamaterials Network Conference 2023

Date: 11 – 15 June 2023 (Schedule) – PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT HAS NOW PASSED | Format: in person only

Booklets: Booklet (Changes may occur depending on confirmations)

Venue: Wotton House, 4* Country Estate Hotel, Guildford Rd, Wotton, Dorking RH5 6HS

Wotton House is a remote country estate. Please check your travel time to the venue before deciding on your arrival/departure times.

It can be accessed by the M25, the M3 South, the A24 East, and the A3 from London. Parking is extensive and free for guests of the hotel, conference venue and leisure club.

The closest train station, Dorking Station, is just 4 miles or a 15 minute drive from the hotel. Direct links and connections from London Waterloo, London Victoria, Reading, and Gatwick Airport are available.


Aim of the event: The UK Metamaterials Network Conference 2023 will focus on exploring how metamaterials research and innovation may be able to address big societal challenges such as Health, Space/Aviation, and Sustainability. We will also introduce pathways into commercialising metamaterials research: how to translate research ideas  into business.

The conference provides a space for the community to come together to widen knowledge horizons beyond subject-specifics to lay the foundation for future collaborations between and across UK academia and industry (e.g., addressing grand challenges, joint projects, research grants, consultancy work etc.). This event is for anybody with an interest in showcasing and discovering how their research can/could be applied to the topics above.

Target audience: Academics (incl. Early Career Researchers at/beyond post-doc level), postdocs outside the ECR scope, representatives from industry and non-Higher Education research organisations. Family members are welcome to attend, in particular if caring responsibilities need to be supported to enable your attendance.

Sponsors: The UK Metamaterials Network Conference 2023 is kindly sponsored by EPSRC and Dstl.


Conference content

Please note, this event is focussed on discussion groups and networking alongside evening showcases of academic work and industrial applications, rather than a traditional sequence of scientific presentations.  To make the most of the networking opportunities and knowledge exchange, we would like to encourage all participants to arrive Sunday evening and stay until the gala dinner on Wednesday evening, with departure on Thursday morning.

The programme content below is preliminary and will be defined based on speaker availability. It will consist of the following half day / full day sessions:

  • Metamaterials for Health (Monday)

    Session leads: Dr Tom Allen (Challenge lead; Manchester Met), Dr Oliver Duncan (Healthy living; Manchester Met), Dr Calum Williams (Healthcare; University of Exeter)

This session will be opened with an outline of the key challenges for the health sector, followed by discussions on where metamaterials could make a difference. There are two focus areas, Healthy Living and Healthcare, where the breadth of your expertise in metamaterials physics and engineering will be relevant. Discussion topics will be informed by the Health Challenge sandpit meeting held at Manchester Met in April and may include:

Healthy Living

    • Sporting goods
    • Protective clothing
    • Exercise and sleep monitoring devices
    • Prosthetics & orthotics
    • Implants


    • Trauma & first aid equipment
    • Biomedical imaging systems
    • Point-of-care diagnostic sensors
    • Implantable devices
    • Target drug delivery & treatments


Tom Allen, Manchester Metropolitan University – ”Metamaterials for Health: Introduction’

Calum Williams, University of Cambridge – ‘Metamaterials for Health’

Olly Duncan, Manchester Metropolitan University – ‘Metamaterials for Healthy Living’

Marc Douglas, World Rugby – ‘Player Welfare’


  • Metamaterials for Space (Tuesday)

Session lead: Dr Simon Pope (University of Sheffield)

This session will focus on round table discussions on 3 key topics: Communication & Antennas; Structural Response & Impact; and Propulsion & Power Generation. Invited speakers will outline key challenges for each area, and set the scene for the discussions around how metamaterials may be able to address these challenges.

Communication & Antennas: Metamaterials have a close connection with communication and antennas through their ability to control the propagation of electromagnetic signals in novel ways. There has already been substantial work in the use of metamaterials in Antennas for non-space based applications, including commercial products. The relative maturity of some of this technology and the general characteristics of metamaterials solutions, makes this an obvious area in which metamaterials could be applied to address some of the challenges with space and aviation applications, such as weight, size, deployability, steering and weak signal strengths. However, potential applications for metamaterials for communication in space and aviation go beyond antennas and includes areas such as laser based communication.

Structural Response & Impact: Mechanical, acoustic and elastic metamaterials have significant potential for application in space and aviation. Possibly their most notable characteristic is the ability of lightweight and deployable structures to provide high levels of vibration/sound reduction and impact protection. These are two key areas for space and aviation application. Vibration control is important to both maintain structural integrity during high force manoeuvres (e.g. during rocket take-off and landing, or when encountering turbulence) and provide high performance operations a low vibration environment (e.g. sensing applications such as planetary imaging or sensors on long flexible structures). Sound control can be important for safety (e.g. operators) and for reduction in general nuisance noise (e.g. from commercial aviation). Impact protection is important during both normal operation (e.g. take –off and landing) and unexpected events (e.g. protection from space junk and micro-meteorites).

Propulsion & Power Generation: Developments in mechanisms for propulsion and power generation place strong requirements on the use of advanced material. Metamaterials have strong potential to make an impact in this area. As an example, solar sails need to cover a large area when unfolded. This requires very thin and light materials to be used, whilst also maintaining the required optical reflection or diffraction characteristics. They can also require significant heat dissipation, particularly if powered by lasers, which is problematic in space where radiation is the main source of heat dissipation. Solar power and batteries are the most common types of power generation mechanisms for spacecraft, but with plans for interplanetary human space travel and a wide range of other missions, increasing demands are being placed on these and other power generation mechanisms. For example, larger and thus lighter/thinner or more efficient solar panels to meet the increased energy demands, or the use of mechanisms such as energy harvesting to both increase energy generation and solve problems of unwanted energy dissipation (e.g. waste heat).


Simon Pope, University of Sheffield – ‘Metamaterials for Space: Introduction’

Mauro Augelli, UK Space Agency – ‘Metamaterials in Space: Exploring the UK Landscape, Challenges, Opportunities, and Perspectives’

Neelam Mughal, Innovate UK – ‘UK civil space technology roadmap and the opportunities and challenges for materials’

Themos Kallos, META® – ‘Design and Manufacturing of Transparent Antennas for Satellite Communications’

Matthew Santer, Imperial College London – ‘Structural Metamaterials for frequency control and vibration mitigation during launch’

Will Whittow, Loughborough University – ‘Metamaterial antennas challenges and opportunities for space applications’

Kai Sun, University of Southampton – ‘Metamaterials for spacecraft thermal control’

Sebastian Schulz, University of St Andrews – ‘Metamaterials for optical communication and imaging, opportunities and challenges’


  • Horizon Scanning: Metamaterials for Sustainability (Wednesday)

This panel & group discussion session will focus on the exploration of where metamaterials can play a role in “Sustainability / NetZero”, in particular on the topic of energy efficient computing and communications, thermal management, and low loss electronics.

From optical routes to achieve low energy computing to energy consumption implications in nanofabrication to heat recovery and big data centres – you are invited to discuss whether and how metamaterials may be able to make a difference in this area.

The “Sustainability” Horizon Scanning session is both for those who are already working in the field and those who are interested in learning whether and how their research may be applicable here.  Can we break down this broad field into topics where metamaterials may have a role to play? The Network’s findings are that this area is yet to be explored and understood in more detail, with a need to connect researchers already working in relation to the sustainability topic, and making it more accessible to those who do not yet see ways to target this societal issue.

Our aim is to collate a better overview of existing expertise and key questions and opportunities in this area, including applications in energy harvesting, energy storage, and conversion, which will inform further workshops and the formation of a better connected community in the field.


Zaffie Cox, EPSRC – ‘Environmentally Sustainable Materials’

Raphaëlle Haywood, University of Exeter – ‘Tackling global issues as an academic’

Otto Muskens, University of Southampton – ‘Thermochromics and phase-change technologies for sustainable photonics’

Katie Shanks, University of Exeter – ‘Opportunities for metamaterials in optics for solar energy’

Deborah Greaves, University of Plymouth – ‘Metamaterials for Wave Energy Harvesting’

Iris Nandhakumar, University of Southampton – ‘Heat transport in 3D nanostructured metamaterials’

Robert Hicken, University of Exeter – ‘Non-volatile magnetic components for low-loss electronics and photonics’


  • Commercialising Metamaterials (Wednesday)

    This is an introductory session to promote understanding of pathways to support the progression of an idea (starting from TRL 1 – basic technology research) to end user applications, from viability checking to funding mechanisms.  This session will likely include introductions to

    • DASA – the Government’s Defence and Security Accelerator – a programme to find and fund exploitable innovation to support UK defence and security quickly and effectively, and support UK prosperity through two main mechanisms, the Open Call for Innovation and Themed Competitions.
    • Ploughshare – a catalyst that brings communities together to enable the success of ventures. They work across the full spectrum of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, SMEs, corporates, not for profits, and public sector organisations to unlock innovation and get it into the hands of users.

These introductions will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with the presenters, as well as entrepreneurs / directors of spinout companies to share their experiences.


Bruno Reynolds, Oxentia – ‘Pathways into commercialising research’

Paul Alderton, Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) – ‘DASA – Funding Innovation’

Sandy Fisher John, Ploughshare – ‘Ploughshare – Commercialisation for Impact’


  • Other Activities

    • Posters & demonstrator showcases (Monday & Tuesday evening)
    • Social activity (Monday afternoon)
    • Gala dinner (Wednesday evening)


Commitment fee

  • for UK-based Network members: £350 for non-ECRs, ECRs £175. Non-refundable. There are no other costs involved. The Network grant will cover your accommodation and meals on site as well as optional social activities offered during the conference. Travel costs can be reimbursed after the event (keep your receipts). UK-based researchers who cannot afford the commitment fee are invited to approach the Network Leadership Team directly to discuss the attendance costs: info@metamaterials.network.
  • for international guests: £1,000 for non-ECRs, £500 ECRs. Non-refundable. This fee will cover the accommodation and meals on site as well as optional social activities offered during the conference. Travel costs will need to be covered by you.


Posted on 23rd September 2022

Key info

  • Date: 11 Jun - 15 Jun 2023
  • Location: Wotton House, 4* Country Estate Hotel, Guildford Rd, Wotton, Dorking RH5 6HS
  • Registration deadline: 31 March 2023
More info
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