Research Centre for Smart Materials

Institute of Materials and Investigative Sciences (IMIS)

The Research Centre for Smart Materials is a network of researchers from across the University who focus on innovative and meaningful applications of smart materials – those that respond in a positive manner to their environment and changes to their environment.

Our research centre comprising largely of chemists but not exclusively addresses the generation of new materials, their processing for applications and the design for acceptability and use within industry and society in a sustainable manner. Smart Materials can/are making significant contributions to the Healthcare, Environment and Energy (HEE) sectors. These three sectors form the bedrock of our research and centre.

So what is a Smart Material? One that exhibits some observable effect in one domain when stimulated through another domain, e.g. heating such as colour change with thermochromic cups.

Our researchers challenge the multi-functional applications of such materials.

A key element of our centre’s strategy is to increase and strengthen “thematic” interdisciplinary research within our Institute, other UCLan research Institutes and universities here and abroad.


The aims of our research are to create a suite of joint research projects taking new developments in materials (nanocomposites, polymers, films, fibres, biomaterials, and gels) into product design research for applications of these new materials safely, within the healthcare, environment and energy sectors. By far the greatest challenges in the coming years will be to protect the earth’s climate and environment and to promote increased sustainability in economic and social development. One of the Centre’s tasks is to strength activities in these areas as well as to incorporate sustainability perspectives in other priority areas. Inherent in this is a need to promote a green business sector, and solve problems related to better health in an ageing society.

We aim to use the centre to develop cross-disciplinary research projects that will be self-sustaining.

The centre is built on the world-leading expertise within the University's Institute of Materials and Investigative Science in:

Research Groups

Many, if not all of our members’ research activities impact in one or more of the three key sectors; Healthcare, Environment and Energy (HEE). To apportion our research projects to one specific sector would detract from the versatility and value, their chemistry makes and will make to sustaining the wellbeing of our planet and its living populations.

Smart materials now have a plethora of applications in a wide and diverse range of industries from the automotive, industrial, civil engineering, aerospace, and biomedical. None more so than in the medical arena especially due to their outstanding applications in therapies, imaging, and treatment.

Meet the team

We have provided a snapshot of our academic colleagues’ research activities below. A more comprehensive account with publication record and other information can be located on their personal web pages.

Professor Sub Reddy
Professor of Biomaterials and Analytical Chemistry
Dr Antonios Kelarakis
Reader in Polymers ad Nanomaterials
Dr Mark Holden
Lecturer in Chemistry
Dr Jennifer Readman
Senior Lecturer
Dr Tapas Sen
Reader in Nanomaterials Chemistry
Dr Jioji Tabudravu
Lecturer in Analytical/Natural Product Chemistry
Professor Harry Eccles
Director of Research Centre

Analytical capabilities

Our members have access to specialised facilities, equipment such as Capillary Gas Chromatographs; GC-Mass Spectrometer with autosamplers, pyrolysis accessory and Headspace analysis capability;

Contact us

For further information contact Professor Harry Eccles