The Institute of Making conducts and supports multidisciplinary research on the topic of materials, materiality and the made world. As well as having our own in-house team of researchers, we also offer the wider research community a place to engage, investigate and explore matter and processes of making. Listed below are some of our current research activities.

Current research projects

Comfort Loop

This 3-year project aims to design a sustainable and joined-up system covering production, use, and disposal of absorbent hygiene products in the UK. More

Circular Metals

The Institute of Making are partners on the UKRI Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Metals. We are investigating societal and consumer interaction with metal circularity, repair and recycling. More

Compostable Plastics: Unlocking Existing Barriers to Systems Change

This 3-year project continues the work of the Plastic Waste Innovation Hub, and aims to unlock the barriers to a sustainable system for the use of compostable plastics in the UK and worldwide. Led by Professor Mark Miodownik, with Professor Helen Hailes (UCL Chemistry) Professor John Ward (UCL Biochemical Engineering) and Jenny Bird (UCL STEaPP Public Policy Manager), and funded by the UK Research and Innovation and Natural Environment Research Council, More

Ever After

Considering theatre and performance in the new era of COVID-19. More

Making Spaces Project

The Making Spaces Project is led by Professor Louise Archer (UCL IoE), funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, and is undertaken in collaboration with three UK-based makerspaces: the Institute of Making (London), Knowle West Media Centre (Bristol), and MadLab (Manchester). This project seeks to identify and encourage equitable practices in makerspaces, whilst empowering young people from underserved communities to engage with, and enrich, these shared spaces. More

Fit-for-purpose, affordable body-powered prostheses

This three-year project is designing upper-limb prostheses that are both low cost and fit for their purpose and circumstance. Based at the University of Salford, this project is also working with researchers at UCL, Southampton University, Portsmouth University, the University of Jordon and Makere University in Uganda. More

Innovation Action

Innovation Action helps to bring people together to innovate on global challenges, initially building a technology and innovation pipeline to support the #COVIDAction led by Frontier Tech Hub. We provide an online platform for Open Source designs to be shared and collaborated on from people all over the world. More

AT 2030 - Spark: Innovation

The Institute of Making are partners on AT 2030: Spark: Innovation. Based at the GDI, it is led by Dr Catherine Holloway (Computer Science UCL) and Professor Mark Miodownik. This programme aims to improve the use of emerging technology for accessibility and to spur on new innovations. More

Food & Transformation: how are materials like us?

This practice-based PhD project takes sausage fork in hand to find out how the sensory practices of cooking and eating together, processing and transforming edible materials, might advance knowledge between disciplines about the nature of matter exchange between human and non-human bodies. More

Design-Led Materials: Online Course

Take our new, free online course about how to develop materials as part of an interdisciplinary team. More

Nature-Inspired Materials

Prof. Mark Miodownik is a theme leader in the exciting new Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering at UCL. More

Archived research projects

Designing-out Plastic Waste

This project brings together a diverse team of UCL researchers interested in solving the plastic waste problem. Our aim is to develop ways to design-out waste from plastic packaging and create new business opportunities. More

Sensory Preference in Prosthetics Study

This project explores material and sensory preference in prosthetic limbs. More

Developing bespoke breathable prosthetic liners with growth tracking & active cooling

This six-month project, funded by the Starworks Innovation Project, will produce a bespoke silicone liner that is printed using a multi-print head 3D syringe printer to improve comfort and skin damage in child prosthetics. More

The development of a 4D printing manufacturing platform

This research project explores the production of a 4D printing manufacturing platform More

Nature Inspired 4D printing for biomedical applications

Inspired by actuating pores in plants, this research investigates whether temperatures and moisture can be regulated in prosthetics using 4D printing. More

Developing bespoke flexible sensors for prosthetic and orthotic liners.

There is a considerable engineering challenge to create a prosthetic liner that ensure mechanical transmission of forces while ensuring comfort and preventing skin damage. This project combines existing stretchable sensors with realtime computation to create a system that adapts to the prosthetic user. More

Hands of X

Exploring materials and prosthetic hands with amputees, designers and makers. More

Material Anxieties

A research project that follows both new and familiar materials being developed for healthcare applications. More

Self Healing Cities

We are part of a pioneering five year EPSRC-funded project investigating the use of robotics to maintain and repair city infrastructure. More

PhysFeel: Mapping Material Properties Onto Emotions

This collaborative pilot project, funded by the UCL Grand Challenge for Human Wellbeing, aims to explore how physical properties can be used to communicate emotions More

Community-Building for Design-Led Materials Research

The Institute of Making are delighted to have awarded EPSRC small grants to five teams for community-building activities that focus on design-led approaches to materials. More

Dangerous Diaries: Octagon Gallery

An interdisciplinary group of researchers, makers and materials enthusiasts from around UCL and beyond have put together the ‘Dangerous Diaries’ exhibition at the Octagon Gallery. More

The Open Workshop Network

The Open Workshop Network (OWN) is an ongoing research project led by our PhD student, Liz Corbin, into the larger making community of London. More

Scrambled Messages: The Telegraphic Imaginary 1857 - 1900

The Institute of Making are involved in a research project with King's College London and The Courtauld exploring the Telegraphic Imaginary. More


Institute of Making members are involved in an exciting collaborative research, making and citizen science project aimed at making low-cost Atomic Force Microscopes out of LEGO. More

Wearable Assistive Materials

The Institute of Making are involved in an EPSRC-funded project that aims to develop the materials for a wearable exoskeleton that can act as a walking support system. More


This collaborative EUFP7 research project brings together product designers and material researchers to develop a new generation of materials that respond to touch with luminosity. More

Bridging the Gaps

Between 2011 and 2014, the Institute of Making ran an EPSRC-funded initiative aimed at bridging the gaps between the internal communities of University College London and King's College London, through the topic of materials and making. To this end, we facilitated and supported activities designed to invigorate innovative materials-related research through research grants, summer studentships, workshops and research forums. More

Sensoaesthetic Materials

At the Institute of Making, we are actively conducting research into developing a sensoaesthetic theory of materials. Materials science concerns itself with the physical characterisation of materials, while artists and designers are generally much more interested in the aesthetic side of materials. Applying scientific methodology to the study of the aesthetic, sensual and emotional side of materials – their sensoaesthetic properties - may improve our understanding of how people interact with materials, and may lead to more innovative and multisensory design. In developing a sensoaesthetic theory of materials we aim to forge links between these two material domains. More