A new pilot initiative intended to improve knowledge sharing between research universities and the Catapults has been announced by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on behalf of Research Councils UK (RCUK).

Over the life of the pilot, it is anticipated that the RCUK Catapult Researchers in Residence (RiR) initiative will support up to 52 awards linked to nine Catapults and will be funded to a total of £2.6 million.

Several Research Councils, (AHRC, EPSRC, ESRC and NERC) have been involved in the development of this pilot activity that seeks to support the development of new collaborations through research visits/residencies for academics to spend time at Catapults.

This initiative builds on previous ‘people exchange’ activities led by EPSRC and the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) and Digital Catapults, as well as NERC and the Future Cities and Satellite Applications Catapults. Research Councils (RC) have now broadened this approach across the Catapult family and participating RC’s remits, to provide a single model for access to funding.

The first tranche of 18 awards supported through this activity includes Dr Jon Willmott, University of Sheffield, with the project Thermal Metrology at the Advanced Forming Research Centre.

Dr Willmott will be applying some of the tools he is also developing as part of MAPP through the MIAMI project which is focused on improving the productivity of additive manufacturing (AM) via improved monitoring and control to achieve 'right-first-time' manufacturing and novel approaches to improving the speed of AM.

Announcing the awards Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Chief Executive and Chair of Research Councils UK said: “The movement of people is widely acknowledged as one of the most effective ways of exchanging knowledge. Improving interaction between researchers and users has been a focus for Research Councils for many years. By stimulating the flow of people and skills in the innovation system these Researcher in Residence positions will help accelerate impact and enable our world-leading researchers to maximise the impacts of their research.”

The aims of the RiR initiative are to:

  • Accelerate the impact of Research Council-funded research
  • Increase knowledge exchange and co-creation between academia and Catapult centres
  • Develop new collaborations between academia and Catapult centres
  • Expand the capabilities and knowledge of the Catapults
  • Nurturing talents and skills development of researchers and Catapult staff
  • Create a cohort of RiRs, able to share their experiences with a wider network of academics


Further opportunities will continue to be available through 2018