SUSTAIN Annual Review – Why Digital?

Insight: Why digital?

Dr Becky Waldram

SUSTAIN Impact & Engagement Manager
Swansea University

In previous years, the SUSTAIN Hub Annual Review document has comprised more than 50 pages and over 21,500 words. Although comprehensive and a great resource covering all aspects of the programme, this format has proved to be more difficult to share outside the Hub, especially with those who are interested in very specific areas of the research.

This year, it was important to continue to include the technical content and details of each research area, but also make the document more accessible, digestible and easier to share more widely.

By creating this digital publication, we hope to be able to reach a broader audience than in previous years. This will include academics and researchers in institutions beyond the core SUSTAIN group and research areas, and existing and potential future industrial collaborators. Through this medium, we also hope to generate more overall interest in UK steelmaking from government groups and the public.

The SUSTAIN programme covers a wide range of topics, from carbon capture & utilisation, zero waste processes, digitalisation, and energy efficiency, to developing new processes & products. Many people outside the steel industry are not aware of the numerous highly technical and sophisticated processes which contribute to designing and manufacturing steel products. Everything around us that is manufactured is either made from, or made using steel, so decarbonising this industry is key to the development of a sustainable and de-fossilised society.

Using the content developed for this Annual Review, we will be able to share not only how our research is helping to develop and implement new technologies, but also raise awareness of the importance of retaining steelmaking capabilities in the UK.

For those more closely linked to the steelmaking sector in academia and industry, we will be able to use the content from this Annual Review to engage with the wider supply chain to increase visibility of SUSTAIN, and potentially generate new relationships and collaborative research projects. The content developed with our key industrial partners has demonstrated the significant benefits of the SUSTAIN Network. By building the network between our academic research teams and industry specialists, we have been able to ensure the core research programme aligns with the interests and priorities of both.

The process of creating this digital publication has been very different for the Hub team and academic staff. Despite some initial reservations about appearing on camera, the feedback from those who have taken part in the process has been very positive. Dissemination of research outside of traditional academic routes (journal papers, conferences) is becoming more important and the academics and researchers have really valued the opportunity to present their research in a different way.

During the majority of the filming for this publication, the SUSTAIN Hub was undergoing its formal EPSRC mid-term review (as the Hub is now 4 years into its 7 year funding). We are delighted to report the Hub received excellent reviews from the visiting panel and can continue into its second Phase as expected.

Phase 2 will introduce some new Tasks, and we will also continue to support the development of existing research outputs into higher technology readiness level (TRL) products in collaboration with our industrial partners.

More information about the new Tasks will be released in the coming months on our website and social media channels.

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