Mobile menu icon
Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Mobile menu icon Search iconSearch
Search type

Materials for Demanding Environments (M4DE) CDT

Close-up of jet engine blade

Case study: Materials for Demanding Environments (M4DE)

A four-year doctoral training programme.

Research into advanced materials is pivotal for discovering and tailoring materials to meet the demands of challenging environments. Materials for Demanding Environments (M4DE) was our comprehensive doctoral training programme designed to address complex industrial challenges while fostering interdisciplinary skills and expertise. This initiative provided students with unparalleled access to industry collaborations and cutting-edge facilities.

Programme overview

M4DE's four-year doctoral research programme brought together PhD students, academics, and industrialists to tackle the complex challenges faced by industry partners. Collaboration with industrial partners resulted in a suite of Aerospace, Oil and Gas, and Nuclear case studies, addressing real-world challenges and the need for materials to perform optimally in demanding environments.


Giuliana Giunta

The CDT gives us the opportunity of doing world class research on relevant and modern topics in collaboration with industrial and technological companies and this is the reason why I decided to be part of it.

Giuliana Giunta / M4DE CDT student
  • Skills training focused on advanced techniques, including electron microscopy, x-ray tomography, and photoelectron spectroscopy.
  • Courses covered research computing, basic programming, software engineering, data interpretation and research data management.
  • Industrial secondments provided insights into real-world scientific issues, allowing our doctoral researchers to apply their expertise to find solutions; and skillsets further enhanced through outreach activities.

Research with industry

We were privileged to collaborate with a high level of expertise from our industry partners, whose input was crucial in ensuring the programme met the needs of the materials industry.

This collaboration enabled our students to apply their knowledge in sectors ranging from the pharmaceutical industry to energy providers and the automotive trade, gaining a well-rounded educational experience and addressing societal challenges in a variety of areas.

Explore our notable industrial partners

The following organisations sponsored one or more M4DE CDT projects:

  • AkzoNobel
  • Amec Foster Wheeler (now Wood)
  • Atomic Weapons Establishment
  • BAE Systems
  • Bawtry Carbon International
  • BCW Manufacturing Group
  • BP
  • Cellbond
  • Continental Tyres
  • Cullham Centre for Fusion Energy
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
  • EDF Energy
  • Exova
  • Frazer-Nash
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Grundfos
  • Hitachi
  • M&I Materials
  • National Physical Laboratory
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Sellafield
  • SKF
  • Tetra Pak
  • Victrex
  • Wallwork HT
  • Waters
Close up of a female, in a lab coat, looking down a microscope.

Research outputs

Working closely with industry partners, our Doctoral Researchers undertook a wide-range of research projects. Some research outputs can be found on Google Scholar.

Public engagement and outreach

A key component of the M4DE CDT programme was its public engagement and outreach. Collaborating with local schools and colleges in STEM-related activities and research placements enhanced skillsets and the program's societal impact.

"I'm very grateful for the help we've had this year from your PhD students. They all have a superb ability to communicate what they do enthusiastically. Our students in Years 8, 10 and 12 have all really enjoyed the sessions they planned and delivered, so thanks! One of my A Level Physics students is now considering Materials or Engineering at University so they definitely made a good and lasting impression"

Rob Martin - Physics Teacher at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy

Academic leadership


Looking for a programme accepting applications?

Our graduates don't just leave as experts in their research niche; they gain a broad skill set, a wider understanding of power sector challenges, and a network of lifelong colleagues.