IfM PhD student awarded IET Postgraduate Scholarship and RAEng Enterprise Fellowship

PhD student Douglas Brion from the Computer-Aided Manufacturing Group at the IfM has been awarded two prestigious awards for his PhD research and his startup Matta, a spinout working to create AGI for the manufacturing sector.


Douglas Brion founded Matta with his supervisor, Professor Sebastian Pattinson, in 2022. Matta is developing an AI-based operating system for digital manufacturing. Douglas has been recognised for his exemplary work with the IET Postgraduate Scholarship for an Outstanding Researcher as well as an RAEng Enterprise Fellowship funded by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, just one year after starting:


“Douglas has a fantastic combination of engineering rigour and entrepreneurial flair, and so both of these awards are very well deserved. They recognise his achievements and will help to translate his excellent work into real-world impact,” said Sebastian.


The IET Postgraduate Scholarship for Outstanding Researchers carries a cash prize of £10,000, intended to ‘help researchers share their knowledge throughout the global science, engineering and technology community, with the aim of improving people’s lives around the world.’


The RAEng Enterprise Fellowship is part of an accelerator programme and includes funding for salary and business costs, business training and coaching, and mentoring from academics and business experts.


The awards will help Douglas develop his spinout which helps businesses assure quality and productivity in their factories. Currently, operators must manually identify errors and rely on trial-and-error methods to achieve successful prints, annually wasting billions of dollars. With Matta, errors can be identified, corrected and prevented, saving time and materials.


Asked what the awards will mean to the company and himself, Douglas replied: “Both awards are quite exciting, and I'm very lucky that all the work I've put into the PhD has been recognised. I've been building 3D printers since I was around 13, and I guess it's paid off!


"These awards from the RAEng and IET will massively help with the next steps in spinning out the research at Matta. The prestige and extensive networks of engineers who are part of both organisations will truly assist us on our startup journey towards commercialisation. They will open doors to potential customers and mentors with years of experience in the manufacturing industry and AI.


"The funding provided by these awards will allow me to hire another full-time member of staff and purchase the necessary equipment to begin the journey of transforming this research into a reliable product.”


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You can read more about the Computer-Aided Manufacturing Group here.

Date published

28 June 2023

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