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The BP Institute at Cambridge is seen as a pioneer of the multidisciplinary approach, while also representing collaboration between academia and the commercial world. Established 16 years ago with a £22m endowment from BP, its aim is to investigate all aspects of ‘flow’ – how gases and fluids move. It is cited for its work in surface science that has led to advances in enhanced oil recovery and in automotive lubricants.
At the Institute, scientists present their findings at weekly seminars to encourage the free flow of ideas.
For the younger generation, multidisciplinary working is changing how scientists tackle problems, says Isabella Stocker, an alumna of the BP Institute who now manages research projects within BP itself.
“As a manager, I see scientists start to approach one another rather than trying to solve something themselves and taking longer to get to an inferior answer,” she says.
“Researchers are more aware that somebody else might tackle a problem better because they have a different background.”
BP Institute supplies pipeline of scientific talent
Manchester is fast becoming a global hub for advanced materials research, helping it to reclaim its place as a leading city of science