EPSRC commits £15m to formulation manufacturing research

Published: 23-May-2016

Projects aim to improve the complex formulation processes used to manufacture products such as toothpastes, inhalers and pharmaceuticals


New research projects that aim to improve the complex formulation processes used to manufacture products such as toothpastes, inhalers and pharmaceuticals will share £15m in funding from the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The projects will involve researchers at 16 universities across the UK and more than 40 industrial and academic partners.

One team of researchers at the University of Leicester, for example, will work to develop a Virtual Formulation Laboratory that will predict how different formulations and changes in their composition will affect how they perform in the real world. It is hoped that the lab will be used widely in the development process of every new formulated powder product in pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals and food.

Another group at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde aims to provide a new methodology of characterisation, measurement, prediction and control, leading to reliable process and manufacture of high-solid-content complex dispersions (HSCD)-based products.

A third group, at the University of Hertfordshire, will look at the processing and formulation engineering of inhalable nanoaggregates and microparticles. This project aims to better understand and characterise the formulations with the ultimate goal of using the developed techniques to translate therapeutic benefits from molecules to manufactured products.

These grants are going to help a wide range of industries that use formulation processes and continue to make the UK a productive nation

Research by a team at University College London (UCL) aims to provide new fundamental insights into complex oral health formulations and to overcome the related high impact manufacturing challenges through a multidisciplinary approach encompassing experimental techniques, mathematical modelling and simulations, spanning the micro to the macro scale. This will aid researchers of toothpaste formulation and food science, biomedical engineering, additive manufacturing and earth sciences.

A team at Durham University aims to develop a predictive understanding of droplet drying and how it can be used to produce micro-structured particles and thin films, both in manufacturing processes and in end-use applications.

A project at Manchester University aims to provide rapid analyses and process models for the biopharmaceutical formulation community to better analyse and develop their formulations.

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, commenting on the projects, said: 'Formulation science is a highly complex area that combines expertise from different disciplines from maths to chemistry. For many people these processes are invisible and possibly of little interest to them, but they impact on their lives every day. These grants are going to help a wide range of industries that use formulation processes and continue to make the UK a productive nation.'

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