Current team > Research Students


Liam Gardner B.Sc


Phone: 01509 225403



Liam joined the Centre for SMART in January 2014 to undertake a PhD and engage in collaborative research and development in the field of sustainability. He is working in the area of Resource Efficient Manufacturing and is currently researching critical raw materials with a focus on rare earth elements.


Liam read Marine Biology as an undergraduate at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and continued his studies there obtaining a studentship for an MSc in Clean Technology. After graduating he went into industry and worked concurrently as National Environmental advisor for both the British Printing and Packing Industries Federation (BPIF) and the British Office Supplies and Services Federation (BOSS). There he engaged in a wide spectrum of environmental and sustainability work including environmental management and accreditation, energy and resource efficiency, carbon footprinting, development of Industry/UK/EU standards and representing the UK in both cross-sector and multinational sustainability projects. He then went on to work for himself as an independent environmental and sustainability consultant before returning to academia to obtain a doctorate.


Research Efficient Manufacturing - Focus on Critical Raw Materials including Rare Earth Elements


As the global population rises and demand for products grows exponentially there is ever increasing pressure on the raw materials available for the manufacturing of goods. Resource Efficient Manufacturing (REM) aims to help solve this problem through the principle of “doing more with less” in manufacturing through innovation and development of novel methodologies, tools and technologies to enable effective changes to be made to improve resource efficiency.

The scope of this project is to improve the sustainability of manufacturing by identifying those raw materials that are currently, and will be in the future, deemed most critical to manufacturing industries due to the dual factors of supply and demand. Usually it is not the absolute global abundance of a material that will dictate whether or not a specific resource is identified as critical, but rather a complex mix of many factors including social, geo-political, technical and economic challenges. The overall aim of this project is to identify and research raw materials that are currently, or will be, identified as critical to manufacturing with a view to making developments in areas including dematerialisation, material flow, material elimination, material substitution, and process or production optimisation to facilitate practical and sustainable solutions for the manufacturing sector.     

Broad Interests & Expertise

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