World expert in advanced manufacturing technologies joins UCD

Posted October 05, 2016

  • Science Foundation Ireland awards €6 million funding to increase Ireland's capability as global centre for micro/nano manufacturing

World leading expert in advanced manufacturing research and innovation, Professor Fengzhou Fang, has been appointed to the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

Professor Fang will lead a cutting edge research programme in UCD, through an investment of €6 million under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship Programme, increasing Ireland’s capability as a global centre for micro/nano manufacturing technologies.

His current research addresses ultra-precision machining of complex surfaces, at micro and nanometre scales and in soft and hard materials. These surfaces are used in the global, multi-trillion euro medical devices industry. His UCD research programme could lead to key technical breakthroughs to enhance the processing efficiencies in manufacturing such complex surfaces.

“Not only was my decision to come to Ireland based on the excellent research carried out at University College Dublin, but also on the opportunity to build a strong bridge between academia and industry in manufacturing,” said Professor Fang. “I am delighted to join the team within UCD’s College of Engineering and Architecture which has great ambitions in the area of micro/nano manufacturing technology.”

Professor Fang is regarded as one of the world’s pioneers in developing nanomanufacturing, has an impressive track record of combining leading academic research with successful commercialisation of the resulting intellectual property.

He has written numerous highly-cited papers that are fundamental to the development of ultra-precision machining, micro/nano manufacturing and optical freeform manufacturing. He has successfully collaborated with industry partners on over 100 projects, holds more than 60 patents and has established two companies.

He is the recipient of the prestigious Albert M. Sargent Prize from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Nanomanufacturing, is the Founding President of the International Society for Nanomanufacturing and is a Council Member of the International Academy for Production Engineering.

“Professor Fang has an exceptional international record in both academic publications and industrial collaborations,” said Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland. “His expertise will enhance the engineering community in UCD and Ireland, improve Ireland’s appeal as a destination of choice for world-class researchers and industrial collaborations and strengthen the industrial manufacturing base in Ireland.”

The SFI Research Professorship Programme, in partnership with Irish universities, aims to attract outstanding research talent to Ireland. The recruitment of iconic scientists and engineers will build the national research base and enhance Ireland’s international reputation as a centre of excellence for research.

“University College Dublin has prioritised research focusing on manufacturing for the medical devices industry within our research strategy, as a natural complement to our existing strengths in Engineering and Materials Science,” said Professor Andrew J. Deeks, UCD President.

“The appointment of Professor Fang will further strengthen UCD’s portfolio in this area, which is now a crucial and vibrant part of the Irish economy. Furthermore, Professor Fang’s research programme, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, will provide a pipeline of PhD qualified engineers for Ireland’s medical devices industry.”

Professor Fang comes to UCD from Tianjin University (TJU), China. His appointment consolidates a recent MoA (Memorandum of Agreement) between both universities which will see a strengthening of the collaboration between TJU’s Centre of MicroNano Manufacturing Technologies (MNMT) and UCD’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

The MNMT Centre, a leading research organisation established by Professor Fang, focuses on micro/nano material removal mechanisms, new process approaches and applications in advanced optical systems and bio-medical devices.

By: Jonny Baxter, digital journalist, UCD University Relations