Leicester scholars co-host international workshop to tackle SDGs

Engineering students and materials researchers based at the University of Leicester have joined forces with peers in China to help tackle two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

They collaborated with their counterparts from Northeastern University in Shenyang at a virtual conference for young scholars earlier this month, to share expertise and collaborate on new metallurgical processes.

Metallurgy concerns the working or heating of metals to give them certain desired shapes or properties.

Academics and students alike discussed how research could be implemented to address SDG7, ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, and SDG9, building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation.

The partnership is backed by the British Council and National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

Professor Bo Chen is a Professor of Engineering Materials at the University of Leicester and Research Director of the School of Engineering, and co-chaired the conference.

He said: “It has been a really good experience to see this programme develop, the creativity of the community and the ideas come forward. With speakers from China, the UK and Europe, USA, Canada, Asia-Pacific region, Middle East, South Africa and elsewhere, this meeting will link young people across the nations to develop new advances in energy and manufacturing.”

Professor Philip Baker, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Leicester, addresses the international conference.

Following a welcome from Professor Philip Baker, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Leicester, attendees also had the opportunity to network with international colleagues as part of a UK-China bilateral early career forum.

Professor Cong Wang of Northeastern University, co-chair of the International Metallurgical Processes Workshop for Young Scholars (IMPROWYS 2021), said: “IMPROWYS was initiated in 2017 with the aim to foster all talented young engineers and scientists devoted to materials research. Northeastern University China, founded in 1923, welcome all colleagues attending this conference around the world.”

Professor Lixin Tang, Vice President of Northeastern University, added: “This conference is co-hosted by Northeastern University China and University of Leicester in the UK. I am very proud that this cooperation will further exchanging ideas, expanding knowledge and scopes and strengthen the cooperation between Northeastern University and other institutions in the world.”

Professor Phil Withers, Chief Scientist for the Henry Royce Institute and Professor of Materials Science at the University of Manchester, also spoke at the conference.

He said: “New materials are at the centre of SDGs 7 and 9, for example the transition to Zero Carbon Energy through fusion power, improved fission, wind turbines, batteries and energy storage, and hydrogen economy.

“Also the drive to more sustainable manufacturing in the world to deliver products more efficiently with better determined lifetimes, and to support the digital economy.”

Explore more work from the Mechanics of Materials group within the School of Engineering at Leicester.