Published: 03 July 2017

Soft matter group now a member of two European Union PhD training networks

The soft matter group is now part of both the EU networks RAMP (RAtionalising Membrane Protein crystallisation) and ERICA (Engineered Calcium-Silicate-Hydrates Applications), and is hiring five PhD students. These are networks of universities and industrial partners from across Europe that will between them train 25 PhD students to become the next generation of European scientists. 

Soft matter physics is at the heart of many of the ways the UK, Europe and the world are hoping to develop technological solutions to the challenges both society and industry face. These include developing better, more rational ways of producing new drugs, and better construction materials. The EU funded Innovative Training Network (ITN) RAMP will train 12 PhD students to develop better ways of crystallising membrane proteins -- the target of approximately half of all current drugs. Only when we have crystallised a protein can we determine its structure at high resolution and rationally design a drug to target it. The EU funded ERICA ITN will train 13 PhD students to study cement's complex nanoscale structure and hence engineer stronger, longer lasting construction materials. ERICA follows on from earlier, highly successful, training networks.

Both networks include not only major EU universities but also industrial partners, so the PhD students will graduate not only with the research skills and knowledge, but also an understanding of how European high industry works. They will train the next generation of European scientists, and undertake cutting edge science and engineering. RAMP's Surrey activity is lead by Richard Sear, while ERICA's is led by Peter McDonald and Dave Faux.

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