£10M awarded for Leverhulme centre in new materials

The University of Liverpool has been awarded £10 million by the Leverhulme Trust to establish a research centre that will revolutionise the design of new materials.

The Leverhulme Centre for Functional Materials Design will bring together chemical knowledge with state-of-the-art computer science to develop a new approach to the design of functional materials at the atomic scale.

Addressing this core design challenge will help society tackle problems such as carbon emissions and clean energy supply, although the benefits are relevant to any sector that uses materials with atomic or molecular scale function.

Long-term thinking

Liverpool Materials Chemist, Professor Andy Cooper, who will lead the new Centre, said: “This award recognises Liverpool’s strength in functional materials chemistry and in computer science.

“The Centre will help to bridge the current design gap by fusing leading-edge synthesis concepts from the physical sciences with ideas from the forefront of computer science, alongside experts in robotics, engineering, management and social science.

“This discipline mix will transform our ability to design and synthesize new materials, which has far reaching implications for society. Instead of targeting specific materials or their applications, our goal is to change the way that we approach the design problem. This needs new tools, long-term thinking, and the right working environment.”

Future vision

Executive Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Professor Ken Badcock, added: “This award is testament to the vision for the future of materials discovery developed by Professor Cooper and colleagues, and to the strength of the team which has come together. It is very exciting that Liverpool is a leader in this critical scientific area.”

The interdisciplinary team will be located in a physical hub in the new Materials Innovation Factory, a state-of-the-art materials research facility for both academic and industrial users.

The University’s Leverhulme Centre for Functional Materials Design is one of four centres funded by a major Leverhulme Trust scheme that supports outstanding, innovative research that has the potential to reshape a field of study and transform how society understands a significant topic.

The Centre also involves partners in the Hartree Centre, Imperial College, the University of Southampton, Diamond Light Source, the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics.


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