ICONIC aims to cultivate a new generation of young engineers; comfortable and fluent in the integration and exploitation of knowledge from fields as diverse as materials science, chemistry, computational methods, solid and damage mechanics, textile technology, structural design and optimisation. These researchers are acquiring the skills to enable the sustainable and economically-viable design of a new generation of highly efficient, lightweight transportation composite structures that will provide the maximum protection to occupants through superior crashworthiness.

Fifteen Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) take up posts, across the UK, Ireland, Greece, Germany, Italy and Sweden, in an innovative, multidisciplinary and intersectoral structured research and training programme. A comprehensive training and secondment programme (including joint supervision and industrial mentoring) equips the researchers with additional transferable skills to ensure future employability and career progression.

The main objectives of this project are:

  • Ensure that each ESR has a comprehensive local training programme to enable them to carry out their research more efficiently and effectively, and to develop their transferable skills in leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, with a comprehensive awareness and appreciation of gender issues and research integrity
  • Provide every ESR with a secondment scheme which exposes them to a different sectoral environment to their own
  • Implement a vibrant and dynamic dissemination strategy, that supports the EU’s open access strategy and the EU plans for a broader picture of Open Science
  • Explore new innovative strategies in enhancing the energy absorption of composite materials
  • Develop improved experimental techniques to enable the reliable characterisation of these novel materials, under intermediate and high strain rates expected in crash events
  • Improve on the state-of-the-art in the virtual testing of composite structures under crushing loads
  • Develop a computational optimisation tool for maximising the energy absorption capacity of industry-relevant mechanically-fastened composite structures and novel composite-to-metal fastener-less joints
  • Exploit the extensive industrial design and large-scale testing expertise and facilities within the consortium to provide industry-relevant validation of the developed novel materials, computational tools and optimised energy-absorbing joint strategies
  • Develop a multidisciplinary optimisation framework to assess cost and crashworthiness performance implications of various manufacturing processes and process-induced defects