UCL News


UCL professor recognised as world leader in emerging technologies

25 April 2019

Professor Peter Lee (UCL Mechanical Engineering) was today announced as a Chair in Emerging Technologies by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Professor Peter Lee

Professor Lee is one of nine Chairs receiving part of £20m in funding plus ten years of support from the Academy.

Each Chair focuses on developing technologies with the potential to bring significant economic and societal benefits to the UK. The ten-year support provided aims to enable the progress of disruptive innovations from basic science through to full deployment and commercialisation.

Professor Lee’s work focuses on applying synchrotron imaging to help develop more efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, also known as 3D printing.

A synchrotron works like a giant microscope, using the power of electrons to enable scientists to study anything from fossils to viruses. The UK’s synchrotron is Diamond Light Source, located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.

On receiving the award, Professor Lee said: “Additive manufacturing promises to be a truly enabling technology. It will allow us to make personalised products that are digitally designed and electronically delivered. These designs can then be fabricated on the other side of the world to help tackle a range of challenges, from alleviating drought to solving medical emergencies.

“The new insights gained from our project will help to make metal AM a more reliable and affordable technology for the production of components, with applications in a wide variety of fields from aerospace to biomedicine. This will place the UK at the heart of this key underpinning technology, enabling manufacturing in a truly digital environment from concept to final component, as well as personalised production, while reducing resource consumption.”

Professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Dean of UCL Engineering, said: “We’re thrilled that Peter’s invaluable contributions to additive manufacturing and his future potential have been recognised by the Academy with this prestigious award. Peter is at the forefront of developing unique nanoprecision equipment that applies ultrafast synchrotron X-ray imaging to improve advanced materials and manufacturing techniques.

“The support from the Academy will enable Peter and his academic and industrial collaborators to develop this vital technology to help lead the way in design without bounds, revolutionising manufacturing so that it becomes a digital tool where future generations don’t have to worry about how objects are produced, and can focus solely on personalised design.”

The awards were made through the Academy’s Chairs in Emerging Technologies programme and the nine chairs are supported through the UK government’s Investment in Research Talent initiative.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “The new technological areas advanced by our Chairs in Emerging Technologies have the potential to transform our everyday lives, as well as positively impact the UK’s economy and generate new sources of wealth. Engineering is critical to achieving the goals of the UK government’s industrial strategy, and investment in emerging technologies means that we can secure our footing in important future markets.

“For these technologies to reach their full potential it is important to invest in the pioneering individuals who advocate for them, as without their vision and foresight it is difficult to identify the products and services of tomorrow.”




  • Professor Peter Lee. Credit: UCL Mechanical Engineering


Media contact

Kate Corry

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 6995

Email: k.corry [at] ucl.ac.uk