Become a sponsor

As you will know, being able to select, design and manufacture (sustainably and cost-effectively) a material in the optimum state can be the deciding factor between ‘enablement’ of a new technology and its ‘inhibition’. Sponsoring a MiNMaT research engineer can therefore make a significant difference to your organisation.

Benefits of becoming a sponsor

  • A highly skilled and academically capable student will be based with you for four years, where they will undertake a project or projects directly contributing to your specific commercial research priorities.
  • The opportunity to be part of a professional network, with a constant flow of cutting-edge ideas between your organisation and world renowned academics at the University of Surrey.
  • Twenty days of world class characterisation instrumentation included in the annual contribution made by you.
  • Funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) means that you can recruit a research engineer for an annual contribution of £16,000 for four years, with no other hidden costs for the duration of the programme.

Get in contact

We welcome enquiries from potential sponsors. If you are interested in finding out more, we are happy to put you in contact with one of our current sponsors, visit you at your site, or invite you to come and view the facilities and meet the team at Surrey. Please contact the Centre Manager, Noelle Hartley:

Frequently asked questions

We are happy to work with companies, government laboratories, charities and other organisations with a research interest in the UK.

Provided that the organisation can provide an appropriate environment that allows the research engineer access to equipment/facilities, information and professional mentors/advisors, principally in the UK, then we are happy to talk about projects.

The project (or linked projects) must fall within the programme remit i.e. be a ‘materials’ problem and have an element of practical advanced characterisation associated with it.

We do not allow projects that are solely modelling although we are happy to have an element of modelling in any project. It is essential that the research engineer has the opportunity to undertake doctoral level work and hence the quality of the potential project is of paramount importance.

The most successful projects are ones which allow the research engineer to work within the commercial environment but away from the day-to-day ‘fire fighting’ type activities and pressures.

Ideally the research engineer will be looking at more speculative mid- to long-term projects which will really make a difference when they come to fruition. This gives them the scope to innovate whilst creating new opportunities for sponsors.

If you are interested in sponsoring a research engineer then please contact our Centre Manager, Noelle Hartley:

We will put you in touch with a suitable academic partner and together you can formulate a project proposal.

Very early on in the process we talk about such matters and draw up an agreement to cover them. Whilst we try to be flexible, key requirements are that the research engineer is able to produce a thesis/portfolio of work and that some information is put into the public domain.

Yes. We actively encourage the sponsor to be involved in the entire recruitment process from advising on the 'personal specification' to the final selection.

We will not ask you for any more money once you have signed the jointly agreed project proposal and contract.  

The current charge is £16,000 per annum for four years.

Your research engineer will, however, receive increments in their stipend as they successfully pass through the programme.

Case studies

Below, some of our sponsors have shared their experiences of sponsoring an EngD student through us.

Sponsored by DZP Technologies.

A research and development based print and plastic electronics company, DZP Technologies, decided to sponsor an engineering doctorate student as a way of bridging a gap in its research knowledge.

Managing Director Dr Zlatka Stoeva said: “We lacked skills and expertise in electronic engineering. Sponsoring an engineering doctorate student has enabled us to explore something that hasn’t been done before: Developing printable thin-film solar cells that can cover a large area such as a football pitch and are lightweight (and therefore easy to move around).

What was attractive for us was having a motivated young person working within our company over an extended period, combined with the opportunity to access the University’s facilities and academic expertise.”

Sponsored by TiSICS.

TiSICS – developers of lightweight titanium composites for the aerospace industry - have sponsored three engineering doctorate students, each focusing on separate projects related to silicon carbide fibres and metal matrix composites.

Managing Director Dr Stephen Kyle-Henney said: “A conventional PhD would have been too remote from our manufacturing processes and a new graduate wouldn’t have the focus on the science. The Doctorate scheme adds a lot more and we get access to fantastic university facilities and technical support, which is a great resource for an SME to tap into.

TiSICS has an established team, many of whom have been working with the technology for over 20 years. It is good to refresh our team with young members who will hopefully be running it in 20 plus years’ time.”

Sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

Leading security and defence company Lockheed Martin sponsored an engineering doctorate to further the company’s research into the use of multi-functional materials that provide lightweight impact protection yet still maintain structural performance.

Professor Steve Burnage, Chief Design Engineer at Lockheed Martin said: “We attracted a very capable research engineer who has assisted us considerably in driving this concept forward, with the performance of the researched solution exceeding our original expectations. Following this successful outcome, we have employed the research engineer.

As a sponsor we were able to influence the direction of research, understand the analytical and experimental capabilities of the University and assist the research engineer in aligning their efforts to both a practical and very demanding application. It has, without doubt, given our company a competitive edge.”

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