UKMMN+ Launch

There’s a Metamaterials Revolution on the way. The NetworkPlus will ensure the UK is a global metamaterials leader, spearheading the future of communications, defence, sustainability, healthcare, space, and aviation.

The UK’s science and tech community will benefit from an additional £2.5m investment into metamaterials research via a NetworkPlus grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation. The UKMMN+ aims to grow a national metamaterials ecosystem and facilitate the development of innovative metamaterials through pump prime funding. It will be formally launched at the Metamaterials UK Conference and Forum 19th-23rd May 2024.

Professor Alastair Hibbins, project lead of the new NetworkPlus, and director of the University of Exeter’s Centre for Metamaterial Research and Innovation said, ‘The scope of metamaterials is huge; metamaterials as a concept provides the opportunities to control information and energy through careful structuring of conventional materials. But of course, “Information” and “Energy” are very general terms and covers an enormous range of devices; what we really mean is heat, fluid-flow, light, vibration, sound, radar, relevant to communication, computing, electronics, health, sustainability, and defence. This has meant that the excellence in our academic community was diverse but not joined-up. For the last few years, Dr Claire Dancer from the Warwick Manufacturing Group (University of Warwick) and I have co-led the Network, and we’ve been working incredible hard to forge a new UK ecosystem for metamaterials where we work together to support each other, and drive work into areas that require multidisciplinary approaches to solve global challenges.’

Dr Dancer said, ‘We’re incredibly excited by this additional funding from EPSRC. Not only are we now able to continue supporting our community, but we are now going to be able to offer pump-prime funding for a number of priority projects that are strategically important to us. That’s across fundamental science, manufacturing, and industrially relevant research – ultimately strengthening the role that metamaterials play in the UK’s science and technology portfolio, driving further investment into our area, and ensuring the UK benefits from our academic excellence on the global stage.’

Professor Hibbins adds, ‘To have a say in our future, and learn about the opportunities and funding that we can offer, we strongly encourage scientists and engineers from universities, other research organisations and industry to register for the Metamaterials UK Conference and Forum, and to sign up to our member database.’