UWE's Centre for Fine Print Research shaping our future

Issue date: 22 June 2011

The Centre for Fine Print Research, part of the Department of Art and Design at UWE, has been cited in a report by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK (UUK) to mark Universities Week 2011.

The report, Big Ideas for the Future, uncovers the top 100 pieces of research that will shape our future. CFPR is referred to twice in the report, in relation to how research can inform and enhance the commercial sector by working in partnership with businesses organisations.

The CFPR investigates the development of quality fine print from the Nineteenth Century through to the digital age primarily from a fine art perspective, but its focus on novel materials and processes to push forward innovation in 2D and 3D printing also attracts industrial partners.

The report refers to three successful patents that CFPR Director, Stephen Hoskins, has filed, which are producing a commercial return or attracting significant interest. The Centre's innovative work on 3D rapid prototyping in particular is expected to be the source of substantial future revenues as materials developed by the process could be utilised in a large amount of planned industrial work.

Developed initially as a way for artists to print ceramic objects directly in three dimensions, allowing them to produce unique works without incurring modelling and tooling costs, the rapid prototyping project started to attract interest from industry after a major and well received exhibition of 2D and 3D work.

Explaining the Centre's ethos and its success in attracting commercial partners, Professor Hoskins said: “The industrial work often starts from pure research and then moves through to a more applied stage and that often leads to industry. So we set the pure research agenda and that leads to industry interest and into industry-focused projects and that's where the money comes from.”

Professor Hoskins has identified other exciting potential outcomes of the research, for example investigating printing ceramic bone replacements for surgical use.

Writing in the report, Susan Anderson, Director of Education and Skills, Confederation of British Industry, says: “The ground-breaking research taking place in our universities is absolutely crucial to helping us meet and resolve the huge challenges facing our society today. It is not just this research that will help us to return to a position of prosperity, but the researchers that are working within our universities that will enable us to get there. Our creative industries produce some of the best business minds in the world and this is often as a result of collaboration between designers, artists and technology experts and engineers.”

Universities Week is an annual event that demonstrates the benefits of universities within UK society. The campaign highlights the impact universities in the UK have on the individual, the local community, its businesses, and the future of the UK, just to name a few. The campaign is coordinated by Universities UK, working closely with a range of higher education institutions and organisations, including Research Councils UK, the University Marketing Forum, the National Union of Students, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, UCAS, the University Alliance and GuildHE.

To download a copy of the report visit the Research Councils UK website

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