Research into the flow of liquids and gases has been boosted today by the announcement of 11 postdoctoral research fellows. The fellows will work together to solve common problems and drive industrial and academic collaboration across the UK.
The National Fellowships in Fluid Dynamics are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) with an investment of £3.7 million.
World-class fluid dynamics sector
The UK currently has a world-class fluid dynamics sector worth nearly £14 billion. Over 2000 firms employ approximately 45,000 people working in areas as diverse as environmental sustainability, advanced medicine, and industrial process efficiency.
But despite several hundred students achieving PhDs in fluid dynamics each year there has until now been a shortage in postdoctoral positions for them to develop their research and its industrial applications.
These fellowships will help to address this shortfall by providing personal support to enable individuals to flourish at the postdoctoral level. Each fellow will then be uniquely well-equipped to propagate and apply techniques from data-driven fluids to a wealth of application areas.
UK fluids community
A hub for the National Fellowships in Fluid Dynamics was also funded by EPSRC.
The hub will build on the work of the UK Fluids Network and embed the fellowships within the UK Fluids community. This will create an environment that empowers the UK Fluids community to grow its global reach and leadership and respond to the UK’s societal challenges.
With the aid of the hub the fellows will benefit from a shared methodological approach to problems in different application areas. They will also have an opportunity to interact with other fellows, experts, and industry, to share expertise across the UK.
Bringing together academia and industry
Dr Rachel Bishop, Deputy Director for Research Base at EPSRC said:
We are delighted to be able to give some of the brightest young engineers and scientists the chance to develop their research careers in fluid dynamics.
The National Fellowships in Fluid Dynamics are a great way to bring together academia and industry to give new momentum to a vibrant sector.
Fluid dynamics research has the potential to grow the UK economy and help us address some of the key challenges of our age, from health and medicine to industrial development and sustainability.
Investing in a crucial discipline
Professor Matthew Juniper, Principal Investigator, Hub for the National Fellowships in Fluid Dynamics said:
The UK is a world leader in fluid dynamics research, which is central to numerous societal and industrial challenges.
These fellowships have grown out of sustained investment in this crucial discipline. They will help the UK to remain a global leader, while also looking to a future that combines recent data-driven methods with centuries of accumulated physics-based knowledge.
Meet the fellows
Their work covers a broad range of topics with applications across society and the economy.
At Durham University, Abhinav Naga will focus on developing a greater understanding of the fluid dynamics affecting the design of self-cleaning surfaces.
At the University of Bristol, Jesse Taylor-West will develop better models to predict volcanic lava flows to help design more efficient processes in industries involving cooling viscoplastic flows, including food processing and 3D printing.
Ryan Doran at Newcastle University will study the nature of immiscible quantum fluids and the application of this knowledge to future cold atom experiments.
At University College, London, Edwina Yeo will develop quantitative continuum models for aggregating systems in flow in order to guide the treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections, the manufacturing of therapeutic drugs, and the delivery of vaccines.
Richard Hodgkinson at The University of Sheffield will develop a new experimental technique that measures what shearing stress is occurring in kinematically mixed flow by using magnetic resonance imaging.
At The University of Manchester, Emily Manchester will use computational fluid dynamics, data science, and machine learning to improve the way MRI scans analyse blood flow.
Miles Morgan at Swansea University will research the fundamental physics underlying the fluid-driven granular processes that are commonplace in both industry and the natural world, including glaciers.
At the University of Edinburgh, Lois Baker will study the hugely complex dynamics of rotating and density stratified fluids, such as the ocean and atmosphere, which will help develop the next generation of climate models.
At the University of Cambridge, Alexandros Kontogiannis will work to extend the capabilities of MRI scanners by finding ways to use advanced algorithms to automatically generate the most likely digital twin of a flow from noisy and sparse data.
Alex Doak at the University of Bath is focusing on using mathematics to understand the behaviour of internal waves (which occur inside stratified fluids like the ocean), rotational surface waves and the phenomenon known as ‘odd viscosity’.
At the University of Hull, Ed Skevington will create mathematical models that capture the dynamics of the front of a gravity-current, which will substantially boost both the understanding and capacity to predict this important, and dangerous, class of flows.
Top image: Credit: Dr Andrew Edwards, Loughborough University