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NPL and Sira INTErSECT
NPL and Sira INTErSECT
The National Physical Laboratory and Sira announced last October that they are collaborating in a Faraday Partnership which will initiate new research aimed at the development of sensor technology for advanced control, sensing and measurement for industry. It will focus on industrial requirements to analyse, control and monitor manufacturing processes and is entitled the Intelligent Sensors for Control Technologies Partnership INTErSECT for short.
Faraday Partnerships, of which this is the fifth, are initiated by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which gives initial funding of up to £50,000 to assist in the setting up and operational costs, and is expected to receive, over the next 18 months, additional funding up to £1 million as a pump-priming exercise.
Through the development of strong and effective networks between academic institutions and industry, the aims of the Faraday Partnerships are to:
increase the flow between universities and industry of research results, advanced technology and skilled scientists, engineers and technologists;
increase the awareness in academia of industry's requirements for new technologies and for skilled scientists and engineers;
increase the exploitation within industry of research undertaken by the science, engineering and technology base;
develop and build on strong, effective networks between academia and industry, especially SMEs.
In the case of INTErSECT the programme of research will comprise a set of flagship projects in each of its main theme areas, with a supporting set of smaller satellite projects. The main research themes are:
New sensors using novel optical techniques; for example, for spectroscopic applications, gas sensing, automatic inspection and corrosion measurement. Other techniques may be applied to long-standing measurement and control needs in the light of new component and information technologies.
Non-invasive measurement, analysis and modelling of external and internal structural characteristics, of all sorts, particularly for non-rigid materials.
Data fusion, data management and complex system design, including validation of data integrity.
The Partnership will actively progress topics from the long term (science push) to technology transfer (market pull) using all the available funding mechanisms.
The Partnership will seek support from industry and other government schemes for projects emerging from the research panels to supplement the support already gained. Already a number of major industrial companies have signed up as sponsors, and smaller companies which are supply chain partners and instrument manufacturers are being drawn in by the core industrial sponsors. Further SMEs are being contacted through NPLs and Sira's networking activities. There is also a pool of academic partners, mainly leading universities in applied physics with a record of top quality research. The Partnership is to be operated by the Partnership Management Unit and the Partnership Research Board, both answerable to an annual Partnership Sponsors Meeting which is made up of representatives of the industrial sponsors, NPL and Sira together with invitees selected to create links with other initiatives.
The scheme will give UK industry the opportunity to direct and influence the control of over £2 million of research in the first four years of operation and to benefit from the results.