The aim of the EngD is to produce graduates who are ready to make an impact at all TRL levels through the application of their fundamental knowledge to their research problems. To encourage innovation, share best practice and develop cohort team working the CDT has developed an annual cross cohort coatings challenge. The challenge will bring together cohorts in years 2 and 3 for two weeks to design and manufacture a m2 functional coated product complete with a business plan and marketing strategy that they will pitch to an assembled panel of industry experts. The aim of the challenge is for a team of Research Engineers to work together applying their knowledge in developing a coating to solve a real life problem. The challenge not only draws on the researcher’s academic excellence but also brings experience of applying that knowledge to solve a problem within a short timeframe and giving consideration to the business requirements – something that they will also face in their careers.