De montfort University

Who are we? 

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is a creative and global university at the heart of Leicester, one of the UK’s most exciting and diverse cities.  

Our focus is on providing a transformational learning experience for students and opening up the opportunities of higher education to as many people as possible.  


We have talented and committed lecturers who bring innovation to the classroom and beyond, using the university’s many partnerships with businesses and other organisations to set up unique learning opportunities across the globe, giving students the real-world skills and experience which employers increasingly demand. 

This approach won DMU the highest level of Gold in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework and its setting is a striking, landscaped campus at the heart of the city of Leicester. The blend of inspiring modern architecture and historical heritage, including a restored 11th century castle for our business school, fires students’ imaginations and inspires achievement.  


We have a track record of research that impacts society and makes a real difference to people’s lives through improvements to health and well-being, infrastructure, creativity, economic growth, business and civil society.  We work in close partnership with Leicester City Council to direct the efforts of our student and staff volunteers to projects which bring real improvements to the lives of communities and genuine and lasting change to the city. 


We have developed a strong relationship with the United Nations and were chosen by them to be a Global Hub for work on Sustainable Development Goal 16, the promoting of peace, justice and strong institutions. The 17 SDGs shape the university’s strategy and inform all aspects of our teaching, research and student experience.  

Why are we at expo? 

Expo 2020 is the biggest stage in the world. We believe that if a university is to do what it exists to do – to shape the future of our world – it must engage at the highest level, be part of the debate and help set the agenda for the future.

We are world-leaders in research in cyber security, in sustainable fashion and construction, in healthcare and AI, but we understand well that it is only through partnerships that we will help meet the increasingly complex challenges of the future.  


So we want to learn too and to meet like-minded organisations and individuals, leaders and opinion-formers, who will gather at Expo in the aftermath of a global pandemic that has asked serious questions of us all and forced us to assess the way we live, prompting real innovation and compassion in response, focusing worldwide attention on working to promote the best and most sustainable ways to live. 

The six months of Expo, working closely with the UK’s Department of International Trade, will allow DMU to represent and showcase the excellence and innovation of UK higher education to the world and inspire visitors of all ages through the life-changing impact of our research. 


A new walk of life for old plastics – Dr Karthikeyan Kandan 

Plastic waste is hugely damaging to the global ecosystem, so smart reuse of this material could cut pollution in a big way. 

To this end, a team at DMU has developed a process which turns old plastics into both prosthetic limb sockets and construction bricks. 

Dr Karthikeyan Kandan, senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at DMU, found he could grind plastic bottles down and use the granulated material to spin polyester yarns, which can then be heated up to form a solid yet lightweight material that can be moulded into prosthetic limbs. 

The cost of producing a prosthetic socket this way is just £10, compared to the current industry average of around £5,000 each.

Dr Kandan, who is also associate director of the Institute of Engineering Sciences at DMU, said this breakthrough could address the gap between high-performance prosthesis that cost thousands of pounds and affordable prostheses that lack quality and durability – as well as helping to solve the problem of plastic pollution.  

It is estimated that more than 100 million people worldwide have had a limb amputated. Diabetes and traffic accidents are two of the biggest causes of lower-limb amputation – both of which are continuously on the rise. 

Meanwhile, around one million plastic water bottles are bought every minute yet only 7% are recycled, with the rest leaking into landfill or the ocean. 

Dr Kandan and his team – including Saad Alqahtani, a first-year PhD student at DMU - have also created a novel brick made entirely from upcycled plastic waste. 

Believed to be the first of its kind, the brick is constructed using 3D printing and lattice architecture technologies, which involves criss-crossing strips of the plastic materials to form a grid or weave. 

The design is inspired by nature, after Dr Kandan examined the structure of the Baya weaver bird’s nest; renowned for its elaborately woven construction and Dr Kandan’s bricks are 10 times more effective at insulation when compared to a conventional clay brick.