Professor Phil Coates FREng FIMMM (Profile)

Fellows' Lounge
2 Aug 2011
Professor Phil Coates

Professor Phil Coates FREng FIMMM graduated in Physics from Imperial College, London, where he developed a strong interest in materials, particularly their deformation. His PhD at Leeds University was on solid phase deformation processing of polymers, which led to technologies and patents for oriented polymers that are being exploited in fields from medical technology to building products.


Polymers at the University of Bradford

Phil is Pro Vice Chancellor for Research & Knowledge Transfer and Professor of Polymer Engineering at the University of Bradford, where he began his academic lecturing in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering in 1978. Prior to this, he was a high school teacher and church youth leader. At Bradford, he developed the physics-engineering bridge and one between chemistry, mechanical and chemical engineering.

He was a founder member of the EPSRC Polymer Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) in 1989 in Leeds, Bradford and Durham Universities, which grew into a £23m grant over 11 years. Phil became its Director in 1995. The research targets high-value polymer products for applications in optical, healthcare, pharmaceuticals’ processing, automotive and advanced materials sectors. The Bradford laboratory hosts the Polymer Centre of Industrial Collaboration, three Research & Knowledge Transfer Centres in Advanced Materials Engineering, a Polymer Micro and Nano Technology Centre, Pharmaceutical Engineering Science and the International Centre for Polymer Microprocessing (a joint laboratory with Sichuan University, China).


Research and links to industry

Phil’s research has substantial support (to date, over £27m total grants and contracts) from UK Government sources and industry, with more than 100 companies collaborating in research programmes from the USA, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Japan. The research involves strong international academic cooperations.

He leads the RCUK Bradford Science Bridges China project – a China-UK ministerially-approved programme, with collaboration of Bradford Life Sciences and Engineering academics, with 11 Chinese Universities focused on innovation in healthcare technologies, around £5.4m total UK and China support, based on expanding open innovation platform in China, and a collaborative research platform. Phil is an honorary professor of Sichuan University and Beijing University of Chemical Technology, and a Chinese Ministry of Education Famous Overseas Scholar, at Sichuan University.

He has strong industry links as a director of Medilink (Y&H) Ltd. He chairs the Leeds City Region (LCR) Local Enterprise Partnership Innovation Task Group, and is a member of the LCR economic drivers and Innovation Panel. At Bradford he leads strategy for research, innovation and knowledge transfer, and has developed focused investments and overarching research themes on healthcare, engineering, and people and society.

Phil received the Institute’s Swinburne Medal and Prize, the Netlon Gold Medal for Innovation in Polymer Processing, and the Plastics Industry Award for personal contribution to the industry, in addition to three IOM3 Silver Medals for journal papers. He is a long-standing member of the International Polymer Processing Society Committee, a member of the IOM3 Polymer Processing and Engineering Committee and a board member of the Institute’s Polymer Society. Phil has organised a range of international conferences, including a biennial Polymer Process Engineering international conference joint with IOM3. He has published some 280 papers in scientific journals and has seven patents, as well as being Chief Editor of the IOM3 journal, Plastics, Rubber and Composites: Macromolecular Engineering.


The importance of being a Fellow

Phil said, ‘Being a Fellow of IOM3 is an honour and a responsibility – it provides a valuable professional status, and one which I have built on in my service to the polymer community, much of which is associated with IOM3. I would encourage those who are at an early stage in their career to have a vision and go for it – you can make things possible.

'I am driven by delivery, and I strongly believe that it is what we do that should be noticed – so if you wish to make progress, get a track record of delivery (academic, industrial or practical) – it is hard to argue with that when you seek advancement. Part of that includes membership and in due course Fellowship of professional societies, such as IOM3 – which should involve becoming involved with the community which we as members represent. It is an excellent way to make and develop contacts and to encourage excellence’.

Further information

IRC in Polymer Engineering at Bradford
Polymer IRC website