A new partnership to train future technical leaders for aerospace and energy sectors

Strategic Vision

The strategic vision of IMPACT is to train the future technical leaders in metal processing with the required combination of experimental, analytical, computational and professional skills that are needed to lead innovation.

This multi-disciplinary training programme aims to provide students from different disciplines with coherent knowledge of a range of metal processing technologies and develop their expertise in solving industrially relevant problems, to enable the UK manufacturing industry to remain the most innovative and greatest value added globally.

IMPACT will provide PhD students with an intensive four-year postgraduate training and prepare future research leaders to tackle the challenges in the metal processing industry.

The centre is key to the UK’s and EPSRC’s strategic investment in manufacturing for aerospace and energy industry, to maintain the UK as a world leader in aerospace and energy generation by increasing competitiveness.

Scientific Director Hongbiao Dong

impact director hongbiao dong

Prof. Dong obtained his BEng and MEng degrees from University of Science and Technology Beijing, and his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2000.

He joined the Department of Engineering at the University of Leicester in 2004 as Lecturer, was promoted to Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor. His research aims to bring knowledge-inspired decision making to the production routes of high value-added components, such as aero-engine turbine blades, deep-sea oil and gas transport systems.

He is a specialist in metal processing, in particular in the areas of processing Ni-base alloys for gas turbine engines, welding techniques for deep sea gas and oil transportation systems. He has expertise in experimental and modelling study of structure evolution and defect formation during casting and welding.

Experimental expertise includes industrial scale casting, welding and the application of synchrotron and neutron diffraction/imaging of structure and stress during metal processing; his modelling expertise ranges from atomistic-scale materials modelling to macro-scale casting and components life prediction.

In the last five years he successfully led a major FP7 project on Modelling Interface Evolution in Advanced Welding (MintWeld) project. He is a recipient of the Metrology for World Class Manufacturing award and a past Royal Society Industry Fellow at Rolls-Royce.

Director @ University of Birmingham Hanshang Dong

Prof. Hanshan Dong is Professor of Surface Engineering and Leader of Birmingham Surface Engineering Group (BSEG) at the University of Birmingham. The BSEG was the first multi-disciplinary research group to be committed to the subject of surface engineering and continuous to be one of the world’s premier research centres in surface engineering in general and plasma surface engineering in particular.

Prof. Dong is a leading expert in developing novel surface engineering technologies (such as S-phase surface engineering, ceramic conversion, active-screen plasma), surface engineering design and modelling, micro/nano surface patterning and characterisation of surface engineered materials (such as environmental nanoindentation and FIB/SEM/TEM surface & interface analysis).

He won the Harvey Flower Titanium Prize 2004 awarded by IoM3 ‘in recognition of his contribution to the science and technology of surface engineering of titanium alloys’. He is active in international surface engineering activities including visiting professorships, plenary and invited lectures to major international conferences, organisation of national and international conferences and is on the editorial board of academic journals.

Director @ University of Nottingham Graham McCartney


Graham McCartney is at the University of Nottingham. He graduated in metallurgy and materials science from the University of Oxford and has a DPhil for research on the fundamentals of dendritic solidification in alloys.

He has over 35 years’ experience working in the general field of processing engineering materials with over 140 peer reviewed journal publications, numerous conference papers and 2 patents.

He was awarded the Grunfeld Medal for this work by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

Currently, he supervises six PhD students on topics such as dissimilar metal welds and the use of high velocity oxy-fuel thermal spraying for the manufacture of wear, corrosion and oxidation resistant protective coatings.

Director @ University of Leicester Simon Gill

Dr Gill’s work is concerned with the development and application of novel numerical techniques for modelling the mechanics and evolution of material systems.

He has strong interdisciplinary research interests in mechanics, applied maths, structural materials and condensed matter physics. His research interests cover a range of academic and applied activities.

Work on the fundamental understanding of microstructural processes in structural materials includes formation of electrodeposited, hard alloy coatings; evolution of porous structures in nuclear materials and diffusive crack growth in structural ceramics.

He has collaborated with many industrial partners, including Alstom Power, National Physics Laboratory, QinetiQ, Doosan Babcock, E.On and the National Tribology Centre. This industrially-led work included modelling of phase transformations; analysis of the fatigue tolerance; and the development of constitutive models, mainly for nickel-based superalloys.

He is also interested in the mechanics and morphology of nanostructures, especially under the influence of elastic strain. He teaches two core IMPaCT modules in semester one: EG7101 Thermodynamics and Phase Diagrams and EG7102 Kinetics and Microstructure Modelling.