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Collaborating with Queen Mary University of London on advanced materials


Our new strategic partnership with Queen Mary University of London is set to deepen and enhance our commitment to investing in partnerships with academia and will drive forward innovation in the field of advanced materials. Our Professor Sajad Haq explains more:


ANIMATE is an advanced materials programme led by Queen Mary University of London under the leadership of Professor Yang Hao. It is funded by industry and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences. QinetiQ works collaboratively with a range of UK universities on research projects that are funded by the EPSRC.

On this particular project, our involvement will:

  • Provide the mechanism for transitioning of technology into new products
  • Help new products to create revenue across the wider UK supply chain
  • Engage current and future customers from inception of the programme
  • Provide £300K to fund three PhD studentships in this area

ANIMATE is specifically focusing on synthesising a new class of software-defined smart materials which have properties that can be modified by a software-controlled digital hardware, enabling new functionalities for alternative applications to be added simply by loading or updating new software. In doing this, we will create a generic systems platform that is programmable and flexible for multi-functional applications, enabling integrated communication, sensing and computation. We expect that the first generation products which could be marketed will be in the areas of multi-functional antennas, compressive sensing and imaging.

Why is this research so important? Wireless communication and radar sensing systems in particular are currently constrained by the lack of solutions that reduce mutual RF interference, weight, aerodynamic drag and many more; however ANIMATE’s new material technologies and their application in multi-functional electromagnetic systems will overcome this. The benefits we expect from our research are that we can make guidance systems on autonomous vehicles more accurate and smaller in size than with conventional technology, and improve the performance of a wide range of consumer devices.

Partnering with Queen Mary University of London and the other industry participants will also provide a generic material platform that can be used in the design and development of new QinetiQ products and services: enabling further innovation and application of this research.

The QinetiQ Advanced Services and Products team involved in this programme strives to be our company’s growth engine: looking at technologies and solutions which will facilitate medium- and long-term growth. We do this by considering what our customers need not only now but in 5, 10, or even 20 years' time and positioning ourselves to deliver those solutions.

For me, key to our success is the building of strong, long-term relationships with partners. Our strategic partnership with Queen Mary University of London not only enables us to innovate in the areas covered by ANIMATE but also creates strong partnerships with some of the best minds working in the field. In the last few years we’ve strengthened our partnership with Queen Mary University demonstrating real value through our joint efforts on individual commercial projects, and this programme, in my opinion, provides a firm base for future collaboration between our teams.

QinetiQ has a broad portfolio of partnerships with academia and is uniquely positioned to enable the benefits of scientific research to generate innovative products and services.  This programme, as well as exploring exciting new technology also supports the UK’s leading position in this field, facilitating retention and growth of highly skilled jobs in the UK knowledge economy and we are really proud to be involved.

For further information on academia and research please contact us: research@QinetiQ.com.