New manufacturing research at Leeds

The University of Leeds has appointed two academics to lead a new area of research around novel manufacturing processes.

Professor Russell Harris and Dr Robert Kay will lead research activity in Future Manufacturing Processes that will complement and further the University’s ambitions relating to High Value Engineering and Health. 

Their strategy to deliver these novel manufacturing processes is based on hybrid and multi-systems fabrication. This comprises of digitally driven template-less manufacturing processes which incorporate emerging fields of science and technology. 

Professor Harris said: “In essence, we seek to drive new innovations in products and applications by investigating new ways to create them. At its heart, our research resides in exploring innovative methods and bespoke instruments to provide this.”

Application areas of their current manufacturing process research work includes prosthetics, rehabilitation, sensory devices and robotics. All of their projects are based on the realisation of new capability, devices, and applications that add value to society and the economy.

The team is particularly recognised for its number and range of collaborations, both cross-discipline and across different institutions. They have collaborations across sixteen different UK Universities, including several Schools at the University of Leeds, and multiple clinical and industrial organisations.

Professor Harris continued: “We are delighted to join the University of Leeds where we see many opportunities to further our interdisciplinary research in conjunction with colleagues across campus. 

“We have been greatly impressed by Leeds’ embedded ethos of delivering the highest quality research alongside outstanding teaching; where I believe we share common values and ambitions. 

“We feel that we will significantly benefit from Leeds environment of great people and great support, and likewise be able to make a significant contribution to the continued growth of the institution. In addition to this, we also expect our new positions to further strengthen and support our research partnerships with other UK academia and industry.”

The research team and their laboratory facilities will be situated in the newly refurbished area of the Engineering building.

Professor Harris and Dr Kay can be contacted on and

Further information 

Professor Harris 

Professor Harris has specialised in the field of advanced manufacturing research for 19 years, primarily in academia, but also with significant links to industry. His research portfolio has particularly focused on high value manufacturing and healthcare applications, and is characterised by its collaborative interdisciplinary nature and clinical links. 

He has presented and published over 100 research papers, including such prestigious publications as Proceedings of the Royal Society, The Lancet, Procedia CIRP, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has received grant awards as principal investigator from the EPSRC, EC Framework Programme, and Department of Health, with funding totalling in excess of £10 million. 

He has also been co-investigator on three major National Centre awards totalling £28 million. Professor Harris is the recipient of three annual prizes from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 

These have been awarded for three different areas of his manufacturing research which spans different processes and materials; The Institution of Mechanical Engineers Donald Julius Groen Prize for research in Structural Technology and Materials (2003), The Institution of Mechanical Engineers Professional Engineering Publishing Award for research in Engineering in Medicine (2007), The Institution of Mechanical Engineers SAGE Award for research in Materials: Design and Applications (2011). 

The value of his manufacturing research has been recognised in the award of the 2013 Queen’s Anniversary Prize for High Value Manufacturing. He was first appointed to his Chair position at Loughborough University in early 2012.

Dr Kay

Dr Kay has over 15 years’ experience in advanced manufacturing research both in academia and industry. 

His research interests primarily focus around processes for the manufacture of more functional devices with his research increasingly driven by high value devices with a particular emphasis on sensor systems, medicine and healthcare. 

All of his funded research has industrial support, is interdisciplinary and collaborative both internally and externally. To date, he has secured six successful EPSRC grant applications totalling £2.33M, drafted and been awarded two international patents, delivered three invited international keynotes, published one invited book chapter, two invited industry trade publications, and published 50 publications in refereed journal papers and international conferences. 

He is also a founding member of the EPSRC Early Career Manufacturing Research Forum, a consortium of academic researchers who have targeted opportunities to participate in EPSRC strategic advisory activities.