About the RCSE

The Centre is housed within the top 5*A research rated Department of Engineering Materials with groups which operate across the full spectrum of surface-related research activity - including functional thin films and bio-response coatings.

Sheffield is also a centre of editorial responsibility for the international journal, Surface and Coatings Technology (published by Elsevier Science), which is dedicated to surface engineering and coatings tribology oriented papers in the surfaces field and includes notes and scientific research papers of the highest calibre.

One of the Centre's main priorities is to encourage the wider exploitation of surface engineering techniques. With this aim, the RCSE provides opportunities for postgraduate study in surface engineering, geared towards the needs of industry, with the aim of producing specialist surface engineers. Research MSc and PhD programmes provide graduate scientists and engineers with access to high quality research projects and equipment. Companies can work with the RCSE on collaborative research by:

supporting a long-term research contract, usually for between one and three years, whereby one or more dedicated staff will undertake targeted research. Such projects, which are often generic and precompetitive, may be fully funded by a single company or subsidised by the DTI or the EU - in the latter case usually in collaboration with a consortium of industrial partners. (The intellectual property rights on research contracts are negotiable). These schemes offer industry a highly cost-effective means of funding long-term research in specific areas.

supporting postgraduate research for a PhD or MSc degree. This work usually lasts up to three years and may involve the EPSRC (e.g. under the CASE studentship scheme).

The expertise and facilities of the Centre are also available to industry through a variety of mechanisms:

  • consultancy, lasting typically for a few weeks, on a costed daily basis, applying the RCSE's resources to a specific problem. The Centre can, for example, undertake proof of concept studies (perhaps with a view to submitting a proposal for a long-term R & D project) as well as testing and evaluation.
  • advice on coating and treatment selection, e.g. using an expert system which provides engineers with access to the expertise of many specialists.
  • short courses and seminars for practising engineers, to introduce basic surface engineering techniques or to provide periodical updates on the latest technology, which participants can attend on a regular basis.