It was a pleasure to see colleagues old and new for our first in-person event in two years. Following on from our series of virtual events during the pandemic, we held a hybrid meeting hosted by the EPSRC at Polaris House in Swindon. There were approximately equal numbers of virtual and in-person attendees, with both able to give talks and interact during the session. We welcomed ten new members as Cohort 6 of the Early Career Forum, while the leaving Cohort 4 shared their top tips from time in the Forum. There was a chance for everyone to get to know the new members and their research, amid a more general theme of sustainability in Manufacturing.
Following an update from UKRI on the EPSRC environmental sustainability (ES) strategy, and the more general UKRI Action plan, we had breakout room discussions on environmental sustainability. There was particular focus on how Universities could lead in this area and the specific challenges we can address through our work in manufacturing. There were short talks from two members of the forum on how their work intersects with ES: Sourav Goel: “Learnings from nature: Gateway to sustainability” and Matt Unthank: “Plastics and polymers; sustainability and recycling”.