Design and Make Competition 2021 – Deadline Extended to 17. September 2021

In conjunction with the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub would like to invite you to participate in a “Design and Make” competition to manufacture a composite bridge.
This is an opportunity to put your composites experience into action and represent your university in this national event. Teams will have to use their knowledge and creativity to design a suitable simply-supported structure to carry a 1kg load at the mid-span. This competition is intended to give young
engineers hands-on composites experience in design and manufacturing. The objective is to produce the longest structure to support the defined load.
The contest will take place on the 19th October 2021 and a prize will be awarded to the team with the longest functioning design.

About SAMPE UK and Ireland

SAMPE UK and Ireland is a networking organisation of 150+ professionals and students in advanced materials, which is very active in composites. An objective of SAMPE is to foster technical excellence in the UK, by promoting interest in new materials and processes within the composites community. SAMPE wishes to support this event to create a dialogue and network with tomorrow’s engineers. Free annual membership of SAMPE UK and Ireland will be offered to all participants who attend the contest in person. Further information about the UK and Ireland Chapter can be found at


  • The bridge must be a standalone, simply supported structure.
  • The bridge must support a mass of 1kg at the mid-span (1 bag of sugar, 200 x 100 x 70mm each)
  • The mass of the structure must be less than 250g
  • There is no minimum specification for the width of the bridge, providing the load can be held in position unaided
  • The bridge must be manufactured from the materials provided:
    • 15mm wide, 80gsm spread tow carbon ribbon (50 linear metres)
    • 1kg epoxy laminating resin
    • 625 X 625mm Rohacell 31 IG-F PMI foam core, 3mm thick
  • Mechanical fasteners must not be used. Joints should be created by co-curing
  • The longest span to carry the central load wins
  • In the event of a tie-break, the central load will be increased
  • No more than 4 members per team
  • Only one entry per team. However, universities/companies are welcome to enter multiple teams if they wish
  • At least one team member must be present during the Hub Open Day on 19th October 2021


Teams may contain undergraduate, postgraduate/postdoctoral researchers and early career engineers, but must contain no more than 4 members. Entries are welcome from all universities and companies in the UK and Ireland.


Send an e-mail to Joanne Eaves by Friday 17th September 2021 to register your team for the competition, or use the registration form below. Entries beyond this date will not be accepted, as sufficient time is required to organise the material kits.


Judging will take place during the Hub’s annual Open Day on 19th October 2021, which will be held virtually. Participants will be expected to demonstrate that the central load can be supported whilst live on camera during the lunch-time session. A laptop with a web camera is therefore required to take part. Please note that the event will be recorded and shared via social media in whole or in parts.

The Hub’s Open Day

The Hub’s free-to-attend Open Day will celebrate the midpoint of the Hub, providing an opportunity for Hub researchers to highlight and showcase project outputs. This will be a great opportunity for those across the composites sector to learn more about the latest research and developments in composites manufacturing. All team members are welcome to attend this event. Please register to the event via the button below. Questions regarding the competition or the Open Day should be sent to Lee Harper.

Young Engineer and Students’ competitive seminar 2021

Are you a PhD, EngD, or Master student researching Advanced Materials, Processing or Manufacture?

How about an expenses paid trip to represent SAMPE UK & Ireland at a European Conference?

Come and present your work online at our Young Engineer and Students’ competitive seminar on the morning of 10th March 2021; followed by free access to our online Annual Seminar 2021 “Composites – Progressing from the Pandemic” on 10th (PM) & 11th March. The two students judged to give the best presentations will be announced at the Annual Seminar, and one will have the chance to present their work live to the audience. The two students win an expenses paid trip as the SAMPE UK & Ireland student representatives to the SAMPE Europe Conference held in Baden / Zürich (Switzerland) on 29 – 30 September 2021, and take part in the European heat of the Students’ Seminar. Win that and go on to represent SAMPE Europe in the USA in 2022!

This is a great chance to meet and network with research students from across Europe. To enter submit a short 200 word abstract of your work to be presented online or email,; or for more information contact Dr Carwyn Ward at University of Bristol:

Deadline for submission of abstracts: Thursday 25th February 2021.

Students are invited to join a panel of experts online on the morning of Wednesday 10th March 2021, to give a 15-minute presentation with 5-minutes extra for questions, on their research project. All participants will get free student membership of SAMPE for one year, and free access to our online Annual Seminar 2021 “Composites – Progressing from the Pandemic” on 10th (PM) & 11th March.

The two best presenters will be announced at the Annual Seminar and one will have the chance to present their work live to the audience. The two students win an expenses paid trip[1] as the SAMPE UK & Ireland student representatives to the SAMPE Europe Conference held in Baden / Zürich (Switzerland) on 29-30 September 2021, as well as taking part in the European heat of the Students’ Seminar.

Participation in that European conference and students’ seminar is a fantastic opportunity to network with other European researchers, in the true SAMPE spirit. The overall European winners will go on to represent SAMPE Europe in the USA on an expenses paid trip[1] in 2022. In previous years, students have very much enjoyed taking part and have gained useful experience, with SAMPE UK & Ireland providing five European winners to date.

UK & Ireland University and HE Colleges are encouraged to invite their Masters and Doctoral research students to participate in this competitive Students’ Seminar. An initial selection will be based on submitted abstracts, and usually students nearing the end or beyond the mid-point of their studies are favoured. Abstract acceptance is based on a relevant topic and appropriate stage of study; whilst presentation judging is based on content, technique, presentation skills, and overall participation in the online session.

To be considered as a participant for this event, please complete the Abstract Template available for download below or use the submission form at the bottom of the page with a short 200 word description of your work to be presented, and return it by email to no later than Thursday 25th February 2021. For any further questions or comments please contact Dr Carwyn Ward at University of Bristol,, or Dr Lee Harper at University of Nottingham,


Word document:

Download the competition announcement:

Chris Hunt of Bristol Composites Institute, University of Bristol, presenting his SAMPE UK & Ireland and SAMPE EU winning presentation during the SAMPE EU Conference in Nantes 2019.

[1] Accommodation and conference fees paid by SAMPE Europe; reasonable travel fees paid by SAMPE UK & Ireland.

[2] Cost of flights, accommodation and conference fees paid by SAMPE.

Travel Grant 2018

Sampe Student and Young Researcher Travel Grant Post Conference Report 2018 by Petar Zivkovic


The Sampe Student and Young Researcher Travel Grant allowed me to attend and present at the Sampe Europe Conference 2018 in Southampton. The theme of the conference was “Large Structures in Composite Engineering” and this was particularly suited to the work which I was presenting titled: “Improving the Aesthetic Quality in Composite Marine Bulkhead Joints through Applications of Design for Assembly”, which is work that I have done during my post graduate masters studies, but never had the opportunity to present. The conference itself was very insightful with many stimulating presentations and tutorials. The first day comprised of two tutorials, the first being a tutorial on Thermoplastic Composites in Aerospace delivered by Arnt R. Offringa. This was a very informative tutorial and gave an overview of where thermoplastics stand in the aerospace industry and where lie future interests. The second part of the tutorials was a parallel session, where I observed the design and manufacture process of large composite structures delivered by Prof. John Summerscales and Dr. Richard Cullen. Completing my undergraduate studies at the University of Plymouth, I worked very closely with John and Richard, and it was a pleasure to attend one of their tutorials again after many years, as it was linked very closely to the work I was presenting. The first day of the conference had three parallel sessions where I mainly attended the Materials and Processing session on General Processing, with occasionally dropping into the Aerospace session on thermoplastics. The second half of the day was spent on industrial visits. This in, my opinion, is one of the best aspects of conferences like this as it allows for a more interactive discussion to take place and see how businesses operate and construct products. I also attended the Sunseeker visit which took place in their production facility in Weymouth. At Weymouth, 50 and 116 foot yachts were being manufactured and seeing the size of such structures cannot help but make one think how amazing it is that it is possible that they are manufactured all out of composite. The final day of the conference is when I presented my work within the special applications session on marine and renewables. The work focused on quality through aesthetics and the design for assembly of marine bulkhead joints, whereby a new method for creating bulkhead joints was developed, allowing it to be easier for manufacturing/assembly and more robust in maintaining tolerances. The presentation was well received by the audience with an few interesting questions that sparking a lively discussion. In addition, the chair of the session, Prof. John Summerscales, was presenting in a parallel session at the same time. To mitigate this, he has asked me to co-chair the session with him and take over after my presentation so that he would be able to deliver his. This was another remarkable experience and opportunity for me as I had never anticipated chairing a session this early in my career. Throughout the conference, there have been numerous opportunities for networking and I have met multiple individuals from the industry and other academic institutes such as Tom Frazier from Automated Dynamics, and Terry McGrail from University of Limerick, as well as committee members from Sampe Europe and Sampe UK and Ireland chapter. This allowed me to create links that will undoubtedly assist me further along in my career. Overall, the experience of attending this conference was so positive that I have already started planning and preparing for the Sampe Europe Conference 2018 in Nantes. I would like to take the opportunity to thank once again Sampe for supporting me in attending this conterence

Annual Student Seminar 2018

The 2018 SAMPE UK & Ireland Student Seminar was held at the IOM3 in London on 5th July. This event was heavily subscribed, with six smart students all giving impressive talks.

The judging panel comprised Andrew Mills, Carwyn Ward and Natalia Becerra.

The student presenters were:

  • Geoff Neale (Ulster): “3D woven glass preforms for crash energy absorption structures”
  • Lourens Bloc (Bristol): “ALM printing carbon TPs”
  • Ghilane Bragagnolo (Surrey): “Flexural behaviour of CF fabric PMI core sandwich panels for car floor impact resistance”
  • Wini Obande (Edinburgh): “In mould polymerised acrylic TP RTM”
  • Riikka Hasa (Imperial): “Multilayer unusual lay up CF epoxy inspired by sea shells”
  • Danijela Stankovic (Edinburgh): “Tensile strength investigation of ultra strong CF suspension bridge strut joints”

The winners were Riikka and Geoff, who repeated their presentations at the SAMPE Europe conference in Southampton in September, along with the winners from the other SAMPE Europe chapters.

In the “composite” photograph shown above, from left to right: Danijela Stankovic, Riikka Hasa, Geoff Neale, Natalia Becerra, Andrew Mills, Carwyn Ward, Ghilana Bragagnolo and Lourens Bloc.

SAMPE Europe Conference 18 Southampton: Large Structures in Composite Engineering

SAMPE Europe Conference 18 Southampton, hosted this year by UK & Ireland Chapter, 11-13 September 2018

The SAMPE Europe Conference 18 Southampton was jointly organised by the SAMPE UK & Ireland Chapter and SAMPE Europe, and was held 11-13 September 2018, in Southampton.

The main sponsor was Huntsman, with event partners: National Composites Centre, Compcut Advanced Composite Machining, and Sharp & Tappin.

The annual partners were Fokker, TPRC, Evonik, JEC Group, GKN Aerospace, Leichbau BW, Teijin, Coexpair, Surface Generation, Tencate Advanced Composites and Airbus.

The table top exhibitors were Kruss, Com & Sens, Gearing Scientific Ltd, CIMComp (EPSRC research hub), Titaniua, University of Southampton, Airbourne, DTC and Tygavac Advanced Materials Ltd.

Summary of the Programme

The programme spread over three days, with the first day dedicated to tutorials. The second day opened with keynote presentations, followed later in the morning by three parallel sessions. In the afternoon, the delegates split into groups to either attend one of five plant visits or to attend the Automotive Special event at Beaulieu Motor Museum. Following the site visits, all delegates transfered to Beaulieu for the evening event. The final day comprised of parallel presentation sessions.

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Pre-Conference Tutorial (A)
Thermosplastic composites in aerospace: Materials, Technologies and Applications
Arnt R Offringa MSc, Head of Aerostructures R&T, GKN Fokker Technologies, Netherlands.

Pre-Conference Tutorial (B1)
Design and manufacture of large composite structures
Prof John Summerscales and Dr Richard Cullen, School of Engineering, University of Plymoth, UK.

Pre-Conference Tutorial (B2)
Tooling technologies for composites manufacturing: Additive, Metal, Composites, Rubber, Shape Memory, Molds and More
Dr Scott W Beckwith, BTG Composites Inc & SAMPE Global Technical Director, USA.

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Plenary Session
Materials challenges for the future of aerospace: Kay Youngdhl Blohowiak, The Boeing Company, USA.
Large structures of advanced composites in civil engineering: Urs Maeier, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA), Switzerland.

Parallel Sessions
Special Applications: Sustainable Composites.
Aerospace: Thermoplastic Composites.
Materials & Processes: General Processing.

Thursday 12 September 2018

Parallel Sessions
Special Applications: Space; Marine & Renewables; Automotive.
Aerospace: Dry fibre placement, preforming; Design, dampage, materials; Thermoplastic tape placement.
Materials & Processes: Modelling & Testing; Aerospace Processing; Additive Manufacturing; Joining & Bonding; Thermoplastics for Oil & Gas.

Annual Student Seminar 2019

The 2019 SAMPE UK & Ireland Student Seminar was held at the IOM3 in London on 18th July 2019. The seminar is a presentation competition.

The annual seminar competition is an excellent opportunity for postgraduate research students to present their work to a panel of independent judges. Typically, 2nd year PhD, 3rd year EngD, or Masters research students participate.

Every year the student Seminar is held in late spring, usually in London. Up to six students are selected to participate in the seminar competition from all of the applications received by the deadline, and are chosen on the fit to the brief, content, novelty, technological innovation, and its application. If chosen to compete the seminar you will get:

  • One year SAMPE young members membership
  • Expenses paid to attend the seminar competition

The presentation judging panel will comprise a small group of specialists from academia and industry. The two students giving the best presentations will win the opportunity to present their work at the prestigeous SAMPE Europe Student Conference and attend the SAMPE Europe Conference 17-19 September 2019, which will be held in Nantes, France. Registration and expenses will be paid. Winners of the SAMPE Europe Student presentation competition will go on to represent Europe at the SAMPE International conference in Seattle in May 2020: also registration and expenses paid.

To see how this competition can help in your future career, see this case study where a previous winner talks about its impact on their career