Future Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation Research Hub

Project: Research council

Project Details


Our Hub research is driven by the societal need to produce medicines and materials for modern living through novel manufacturing processes. The enormous value of the industries manufacturing these high value products is estimated to generate £50 billion p.a. in the UK economy. To ensure international competitiveness for this huge UK industry we must urgently create new approaches for the rapid design of these systems, controlling how molecules self-assemble into small crystals, in order to best formulate and deliver these for patient and customer. We must also develop the engineering tools, process operations and control methods to manufacture these products in a resource-efficient way, while delivering the highest quality materials.

Changing the way in which these materials are made, from what is called "batch" crystallisation (using large volume tanks) to "continuous" crystallisation (a more dynamic, "flowing" process), gives many advantages, including smaller facilities, more efficient use of expensive ingredients such as solvents, reducing energy requirements, capital investment, working capital, minimising risk and variation and, crucially, improving control over the quality and performance of the particles making them more suitable for formulation into final products. The vision is to quickly and reliably design a process to manufacture a given material into the ideal particle using an efficient continuous process, and ensure its effective delivery to the consumer. This will bring precision medicines and other highly customisable projects to market more quickly. An exemplar is the hubs exciting innovation partnership with Cancer Research UK.

Our research will develop robust design procedures for rapid development of new particulate products and innovative processes, integrate crystallisation and formulation to eliminate processing steps and develop reconfiguration strategies for flexible production. This will accelerate innovation towards redistributed anufacturing, more personalisation of products, and manufacturing closer to the patient/customer. We will develop a modular MicroFactory for integrated particle engineering, coupled with a fully integrated, computer-modelling approach to guide the design of processes and materials at molecule, particle and formulation levels. This will help optimise what we call the patient-centric supply chain and provide customisable products. We will make greater use of targeted experimental design, prediction and advanced computer simulation of new formulated materials, to control and optimise the processes to manufacture them.

Our talented team of scientists will use the outstanding capabilities in the award winning £34m CMAC National Facility at Strathclyde and across our 6 leading university spokes (Bath, Cambridge, Imperial, Leeds, Loughborough, Sheffield). This builds on existing foundations independently recognised by global industry as 'exemplary collaboration between industry, academia and government which represents the future of pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply chain R&D framework'.

Our vision will be translated from research into industry through partnership and co-investment of £31m. This includes 10 of world's largest pharmaceutical companies (eg AstraZeneca, GSK), chemicals and food companies (Syngenta, Croda, Mars) and 19 key technology companies (Siemens, 15 SMEs) Together, with innovation spokes eg Catapult (CPI) we aim to provide the UK with the most advanced, integrated capabilities to deliver continuous manufacture, leading to better materials, better value, more sustainable and flexible processes and better health and well-being for the people of the UK and worldwide. CMAC will create future competitive advantage for the UK in medicines manufacturing and chemicals sector and is strongly supported by industry / government bodies, positioning the UK as the investment location choice for future investments in research and manufacturing.
Effective start/end date1/01/175/10/23

Collaborative partners

  • University of Bath (lead)
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Cambridge
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Leeds
  • Loughborough University
  • University of Sheffield
  • British Sugar plc
  • Mettler-Toledo Ltd
  • Merck & Co., Inc.
  • National Physics Laboratory
  • Centre for Process Innovation Limited
  • Mars UK
  • Siemens plc
  • DEM Solutions Ltd
  • Malvern Instruments Ltd
  • Takeda Pharmaceutical International
  • Croda International plc
  • Perceptive Engineering Limited
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Alconbury Weston Ltd
  • Booth Welsh
  • Britest Ltd
  • AM Technology
  • FUJIFILM Imaging Colorants Limited
  • Hovione
  • Diamond Light Source Ltd
  • AstraZeneca UK Ltd
  • Clairet Scientific Ltd
  • Syngenta Ltd
  • Blacktrace Holdings Limited
  • Infineum International Ltd
  • Robinson Brothers Ltd
  • UCB Pharma Ltd
  • Technobis Group
  • Solid Form Solutions
  • Bayer Pharma AG
  • Sirius Analytical Instrumentation Ltd
  • NiTech Solutions Ltd
  • Knowledge Transfer Network
  • Price Waterhouse Coopers
  • Cambridge Reactor Design Ltd
  • Process Systems Enterprise Limited
  • Encap Drug Delivery
  • Dr Reddy's Laboratories UK Ltd
  • GlaxoSmithKline PLC


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.