Education & Training

ECFP is based at the University of Edinburgh and education is at the heart of the way we work. We offer PhD qualifications, deliver Continued Professional Development courses for both industry and teachers, and run outreach events to engage the general public with our work. If you are interested in education or training with us and want to know what we can offer, please contact us or find out more below.


Embedding people in a different environment is a strong mechanism for learning and knowledge exchange.  Our students benefit significantly from placements within a company, which provide them with insight into the applications of our research. Conversely, we may be able to host industrial employees to provide experience of working in a research-intensive environment.

Continued Professional Development (CPD)

For Industry

In a competitive world, it is important to understand the materials you are working with in order to innovate and improve sustainability. Through numerous industrial collaborations, we recognise common challenges faced by companies across many sectors. Indeed, many of our academic research projects are inspired by these challenges.

We share our understanding of the fundamental soft matter and biological physics principles that govern the behaviour of your products through bespoke training courses. These are designed around your specific needs in the fields of colloid and formulation science, measurement techniques (including hands-on workshops), and data analysis and interpretation, and will help company scientists to optimise formulations and processes. We also offer hands-on workshops in measurement techniques and lectures .

These courses can be run from company premises or at the University of Edinburgh. If you would like more information, please contact us.

For Teachers

We offer CPD sessions that explore different areas within soft matter and biological physics, including experimental demonstrations. We also organise Friday afternoon events for teachers to come and meet our researchers. This is a great way for teachers to gain inspiration from cutting-edge research and foster contact with a range of academic staff. Thanks to our industrial work, we have numerous examples of how our research applies to daily life that we can share with you to take back to the classroom.

Centre for Doctoral Training

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter for Formulation and Industrial Innovation (SOFI2 CDT) brings together expertise from the University of Edinburgh, Durham and Leeds to offer postgraduate training. The core remit of the SOFI2 CDT is to train the next generation of research leaders. SOFI2-related industrial sectors account for approximately 17.2% of UK GDP and employ over 1.1M UK employees.

Public Engagement

Through engaging with society in the broadest sense, we seek to help the public understand the relevance of complex fluid research to familiar products they use everyday, for example, foods, shampoo, paint, and toothpaste. We take part in festivals (such as the Edinburgh, Dundee, and Midlothian science festivals), work in schools, and develop learning resources with an aim of inspiring younger generations to pursue scientific studies. We have even designed dances for soft matter physics-themed ceilidhs!

In Schools

Complex fluid science connects many of the Curriculum of Excellence topics with familiar, everyday products, and therefore demonstrates the relevance of science to pupils’ lives. We coordinate public engagement activities in schools and can supply ‘visiting scientists’ to give talks in primary and secondary schools.

Our activities illustrate the importance of the science behind the manufacture of familiar products and we hope that pupils will be inspired to pursue STEM subjects and/or consider careers that will help build future economic growth through product innovation and manufacture.

We have also developed popular Potion and Alchemy classes. Children can make ‘baby-boggarts’ (slime with solid- and liquid-like properties, similar to shapeshifters in the magical world); practise Divination (exploring how liquids with different surface tensions spread when mixed, creating beautiful alive patterns, a bit like reading tea leaves); brew polyjuice potion (mixing and stabilising liquids which normally do not like to mix); and create healing potions.

We are always keen to hear from companies who are interested in supporting these activities, for example, by providing sponsorship, offering factory tours or working with us to generate film for learning resources.

If you work in a school and would like to find out more about what we offer, please contact us.