Embedding Advanced & Sustainable Technologies into Welsh Manufacturing

The ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) operation led by Swansea University in partnership with Cardiff University, Aberystwyth University & the University of Wales Trinity Saint David will support industrial Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) through world-class academics and a team of highly qualified technical experts and project managers. The five-year operation (2015-2020) has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and the participating Higher Education Institutions.

ASTUTE 2020 will collaborate with the High-Value Manufacturing industry in West Wales and the Valleys (WWV) to stimulate transformational and sustainable growth by facilitating and de-risking the development and adoption of advanced technologies, increasing competitiveness and future proofing.

ASTUTE 2020 – Industry projects will:

  • be demand-led by industry
  • require a Research Challenge in Computational Engineering Modelling, Advanced Materials Technology or Manufacturing Systems Engineering
  • involve Collaboration, so that the companies and the Universities share the inputs, outputs and risks
  • bring economic benefit to West Wales and the Valleys 

Swansea University's contribution to the delivery of ASTUTE 2020 will be based in the College of Engineering. 

The College’s world-leading research fields of Materials Science and Computational Modelling are at the heart of driving RD&I for industrial applications. 94% of research produced by these high-impact research groups being deemed World Leading (4*) or Internationally Excellent (3*) quality in REF 2014. In addition to these strengths, the College is offering expertise in Future Manufacturing Technologies to future proof and de-risk adoption of new technologies.

The previous ASTUTE project (2010 - 2015) has seen a steady stream of collaboration requests from companies in a range of different technology areas. In accordance with a Smart Specialisation approach, we have identified the key expertise themes for high economic impact and ASTUTE 2020 will focus only on those areas of industrial demand where we can specifically bring to bear the established world-leading and internationally excellent expertise found across the Welsh Universities' partnership to address the industrial RD&I needs.

Key Areas of Expertise

Key Areas of Expertise

ASTUTE 2020 Expertise Themes are underpinning areas of recognised expertise highly relevant to advanced high-value manufacturing:

  • Advanced Materials Technology
  • Computational Engineering Modelling
  • Manufacturing Systems Engineering

We can, therefore, support a diverse range of companies – from automotive and aerospace to medical engineering and potentially food industries – and also a wide range of areas as additive manufacturing, smart manufacturing and robotics.

Advanced Materials Technology

The special technical expertise available from the partnership covers several classes of advanced materials, which include sophisticated multi-component metallic alloys, polymeric materials and elastomers, composites, semiconductors and digital materials.

Improved knowledge and understanding of materials utilised in existing processes and products and of introducing new materials into products and processing existing materials more efficiently.

  • the need to introduce new materials into products, to adopt more innovative techniques for processing other advanced materials,
  • to better understand materials and their behaviour.

Swansea University expertise and excellent strengths in materials technology will be conducted through the College of Engineering. Companies do need considerable R&D help in integrating these materials which have complex, direction-dependent properties and require a step-change in processing knowledge, which is where Swansea's specialisations can make a significant contribution.

For more information on ASTUTE 2020's expertise in Advanced Materials Technology, please click here

Computational Engineering Modelling

Computational Engineering Modelling is one essential tool to increase understanding of complex processes and products. Improving manufacturing processes and manufactured products often require experimentation along a “trial and error approach”.

This can be costly in terms of staff time and materials and is often a lengthy process sometimes with an uncertain outcome. The predictive capabilities offered by computational modelling can reduce or eliminate the “trial and error” approach so that new products can have shorter lead times to market and new processes and products can be optimised with low risk and faster implementation times.


  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  • Wave Propagation
  • Optimisation

The modelling capabilities are supported through advanced techniques developed at our partner Universities based on bespoke software or further development on commercial software in mesh generation, finite volume or finite element methods.

The Zienkiewicz Centre for Computational Engineering based in the College of Engineering is acknowledged internationally as the leading UK centres for computational engineering research. 

For more information on ASTUTE 2020's expertise in Computational Engineering Modelling, please click here

Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Manufacturing Systems Engineering is critical to effective production processes. Examples of the expertise available in critical underpinning areas include: Systems Engineering, Operational Excellence, Manufacturing Process Improvement, Production and Inventory Control, Supply Chain Re-engineering and Re-shoring, Failure Modes Effects Analysis and Ontology, Biomedical Engineering, Resource Efficiency, Life Cycle Analysis, Circular Economy, Re-manufacturing and Recycling, and Sustainable Supply Chains. Access to these areas of expertise via ASTUTE 2020 is aimed at fulfilling the industrial need of improving the use of resources in the manufacturing process and managing the supply chain of products and services.

Contribution from several research groups within the College of Engineering, specifically aimed at cyber-physical systems, sensors, failure mock effect analysis visualisation, and big data related solutions for manufacturing.

For more information on ASTUTE 2020's expertise in Manufacturing Systems Engineering, please click here



The ASTUTE 2020 partnership will be based on world-class excellence, Swansea University and Cardiff University will be the core partners with Swansea University leading the operation as in the previous ASTUTE project (2010-2015). Swansea University will provide cutting edge research expertise from the College of Engineering, which is comparable with the UK’s Russell Group Institutions for research performance; Cardiff will bring world-class academics from across three of its Colleges, led by the School of Engineering, the Business School (in the area of Manufacturing Systems) and the Medical School. The partners Aberystwyth University and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David will provide key niche expertise in their recognised areas to this strong but flexible partnership. The proposed ASTUTE 2020 operation will be restricted to West Wales and the Valleys.

Collaborate With Us

Proposals for collaborative RD&I or knowledge transfer projects will be developed by the industrial partner and a dedicated ASTUTE 2020 technical manager and require approval by an industrial-academic committee before a project can proceed. The process for approval of industrial projects consists of two stages: Stage 1 is an assessment by the local Principal Investigator; Stage 2 (assessment by the Project Committee) can only commence after approval in Stage 1. 

The Project Committee consists of representation from Swansea and Cardiff Universities and industry representation from Industry Wales and EEF' The Manufacturers Organisation as well as representation from Aberystwyth University and UWTSD for higher value projects.   

Proposals will be assessed by the Project Committee on the following criteria:

  • the advanced manufacturing innovation opportunity
  • the research challenge
  • value for money