Following an international competition, Prof Jason Reese, Regius Professor of Engineering, and Prof Susan Rosser, Professor of Synthetic Biology, have been awarded prestigious Chairs in Emerging Technologies by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng).
These Chairs identify global research visionaries and provide them with long-term support to lead on developing emerging technology areas with high potential to deliver economic and social benefit to the UK. The Royal Academy of Engineering will provide funding of £1.3 million to each Chair to focus full-time on research, development and exploitation work.
The University of Edinburgh was the only institution to be awarded multiple Chairs, being successful in two of the ten available: Prof Rosser (School of Biological Sciences and School of Engineering) will focus on engineering cells for combined diagnostics and therapeutics; Prof Reese (School of Engineering) will work on a programme entitled PYRAMID, to create a platform for multiscale design, from molecules to machines.
For 10 years from March 2018, Jason Reese will be funded to develop a new platform technology in multi-scale simulation-driven design for industrial innovation and scientific endeavour.
He will address the shortcomings of current computational engineering and design in the development cycles of horizon technologies whose performance depends on complex interactions between the smallest constituents, right down to molecules.
Examples include: evaporative cooling nano-arrays that can handle heat fluxes comparable to the surface of the sun; desalination or wastewater filtration membranes comprising ultra-long nanotubes; and multiscale reservoir simulations for subsurface asset management.
Jason Reese will create the platform on which new technological ideas, designs and processes - operating across some 8 orders of magnitude in space, and 10 orders in time - can be tested at lower levels of cost and risk.
His aim is not only for multi-scale design to enter the product development cycles of his industry partners, but also the breakthrough of multi-scale analysis as a productive enabler of emerging technologies and scientific innovation.