In particular the Institute has focused on it’s three research centres: The Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre (NIBEC); The Engineering Composites Research Centre (ECRE) and the Advanced Metal Forming Centre (AMFoR).
These research Centres constitute a wide range of engineering led disciplines such as Biomaterials, Biomedical Engineering, Clean Technology, Connected Health Devices, Nanotechnology, Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine and Metal Forming. The Institute has brought together a multi-disciplinary group of staff from a range of disciplines to undertake various forms of advanced materials research, including such topics as; composite structures, materials characterisation, sensor fabrication, biomaterial processing, plasma processing, metal forming, nanoscience and nanofabrication. The Institute has a particular focus on interacting with Industry, Clinicians and Society in order to benefit all communities within today’s rapid growing knowledge based economic environment. The Institute Members also collaborates with numerous International partners.
Strong International collaborations have been developed and large infrastructural and project funding has been a highlight of this rapidly growing research area.
Technology transfer is also a key objective and the Institute is one of Northern Irelands leaders in intellectual property exploitation, with over 6 successful spin-out companies. The overall objective of ERI is to investigate the structure-function relationships of, and the interactions between materials, processes, devices and performance, in support of the economic and social development of science, engineering, industry and technology transfer.
Metallurgy and Materials research at the University of Ulster has jumped from 17th to 11th in the UK national league table for research excellence. In Ulster’s submission to RAE 2008 the Assessment Panel found strong evidence of world class research, supported by internationally leading research. In fact 95% of the staff are judged to be of international standing.
The Assessment Panel for this highly competitive and economically important discipline were looking at scientific discovery and engineering innovation at some of the strongest academic institutions in the UK including Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Imperial. The outcome for Ulster is a reward for the strategic focus in nanotechnology and advanced materials research and provides a strong foundation for future growth of the young and dynamic Engineering Research Institute.