EPSRC seeks expressions of interest for the refresh of the membership of the Manufacturing and the Circular Economy Early Career Forum (see ‘the scope and what we’re doing’ section).
EPSRC is looking to appoint 11 new members of the forum. Applicants should have a strong focus on advancing the UK’s international reputation in manufacturing research. Applicants should be open to developing interdisciplinary research agendas, help with two-way communication between EPSRC and the early career manufacturing research community, and have an interest in participating in research policy development.
Members of the Early Career Forum will have the opportunity to interact with other early career academics from across the breadth of engineering and the physical sciences, forming new professional networks that may generate future innovative research programmes.
Forum members will also have targeted opportunities to participate in EPSRC strategic advisory activities, interact with senior staff of EPSRC-funded large grants, including the EPSRC future manufacturing hubs, and will receive insight into, and practical advice relating to, UK funding body policy and practice.
Members appointed via this process will form the seventh cohort of the forum. Their membership period is expected to run from winter 2023 to winter 2026.
Manufacturing and the Circular Economy research is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing upon the whole breadth of EPSRC-supported research and beyond. There are, for example, strong overlaps with the biological and social sciences.
The challenge for EPSRC’s Manufacturing and the Circular Economy theme is to create, capture and accelerate the benefits of groundbreaking research for the benefit of UK. The vision is a sustainable, resilient, thriving and productive UK-wide manufacturing sector and a truly circular economy.
To this end, Manufacturing and the Circular Economy interacts widely with academia and industry via advisory bodies and staff within strategic large investments, membership of cross-industry, academia and governmental committees, and discussions with professional societies and networks.
The future international reputation of the UK in manufacturing research rests upon the early career academics of today. They will generate new and sustainable manufacturing processes, technologies and systems at the interfaces of traditional mathematical, scientific and engineering disciplines.
Such individuals will define, by virtue of their excellent research track records and strong professional connections, the intellectual and practical merit of UK manufacturing research on the international stage.
A shift to a more circular economy provides an opportunity for the UK to achieve more sustainable and clean economic growth and prosperity. As such, we particularly encourage systems thinking across the research landscape by placing their research in the context of the wider system (technological, economic, social, cultural, and environmental) in which the impact would be realised.
Applicants will need to take a systems approach to enable consideration of the trade-offs, risks and mitigations associated with different approaches, using tools and approaches such as life cycle analysis and impact assessments where appropriate. These aspects should inform and influence your research direction now and in the future.
The Early Career Forum in Manufacturing and the Circular Economy Research seeks to identify individuals near the start of their academic research career who may have the characteristics required to become such international leaders of the future.
EPSRC desires that members of the forum will take a lead in defining and developing what ‘research excellence’ means within the context of UK manufacturing and the circular economy research.
The forum is a long-term initiative with an evolving membership base. The activities of the forum are influenced by the wishes and ideas of the membership, who are expected to participate in organising events. Members will have access to a range of tailored events and opportunities, which have previously included:
- networking and idea-sharing with all other Early Career Forum members
- discussions, networking and mentoring opportunities with senior academics and industrialists from the Manufacturing and the Circular Economy theme and beyond
- insight and mentoring into EPSRC processes and procedures, including various EPSRC grant awards and the associated peer review processes
- developing working relationships with EPSRC
- joint sessions with the EPSRC Manufacturing and the Circular Economy Strategic Advisory Team
Further information about current membership and ongoing activities of the Early Career Forum can be found on the Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research website and at: Manufacturing the future theme.
Individual membership of the forum will last for approximately three years. EPSRC expects to have around 20 members of the Early Career Forum across the broad portfolio of manufacturing research.
Meetings are run by and hosted by members of the forum, and EPSRC would expect applicants to be willing to actively participate and contribute to the forum’s activities on a regular basis.
Applicants are advised that the Early Career Forum usually meets three times annually, with each meeting running over one to two days. Members are expected to aim to attend a majority of meetings.
EPSRC wishes to invite forum members across the full breadth of the Manufacturing and the Circular Economy theme. This includes:
- computer scientists
- manufacturing engineering disciplines
- process engineering disciplines
Members do not need to have expertise in both manufacturing and circular economy research.
EPSRC explicitly seeks to ensure that at each refresh the forum is constituted with an appropriate balance of membership across academic research areas. Therefore, we would particularly welcome applications from individuals with backgrounds in:
- engineering design
- manufacturing operations
- sustainable manufacturing
- production manufacturing
- circular economy technologies
- digital manufacturing
- life cycle analysis relevant experience
Find out more about EPSRC’s portfolio and strategies.
This is not a direct funding opportunity, but rather an expression of interest for membership of the Manufacturing and the Circular Economy Early Career Research Forum.
EPSRC will pay some of the forum meeting costs, for example meals. However, successful applicants would generally be expected to fund their own travel and accommodation costs to attend the meetings. Applicants should ensure their host organisation can cover such costs for their attendance.