Personal profile


Professor Birkett joined the Mechanical Engineering Department at Northumbria University in 2011. Prior to this he worked in the manufacturing industry for sixteen years, where he completed a Craft Apprenticeship before moving on to work as a Manufacturing Engineer and then a Senior Research and Development Engineer, primarily working on the development of new thin film materials and processes. During this period, he also studied on a part-time basis for a BEng (Hons) degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering and a PhD degree in the area of thin film materials and coatings.  

Professor Birkett currently leads the Engineering Materials and Mechanics Group (EM2G) and he mainly teaches on the Mechanical Engineering degree programmes in the areas of materials and manufacturing technology and systems. His research is focussed on the development of new thin film materials and coatings for mechanical, electrical and biomedical applications and has been funded by the European Commission, The Leverhulme Trust, EPSRC, The British Academy, The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and several industrial collaborators.

Professor Birkett is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE), a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and a member of the EPSRC, UKRI FLF/Talent and Leverhulme Trust Peer Review Colleges.


Recent Research Projects:

  • Advanced Thin Film Sputtering Fabrication Facility (TF-FAB)
    Martin Birkett (Co Investigator)
    EPSRC / 2023 – 2026 / £971,032

  • Wear Performance of Ti3Au Coatings for Biomedical Implants
    Martin Birkett (Co Investigator)
    RIS Internal Funding / 2023 / £8,400

  • High-Performance Biocompatible Ag-DLC Coatings - Precise and Localized Silver Doping Through Novel Helium Pulse Injections
    Martin Birkett (Principal Investigator)
    European Commission / 2021 – 2023 / £191,270

  • Advanced Bioactive Diamond-like Carbon-based Coatings for Next Generation Orthopaedic Implants
    Martin Birkett (Principal Investigator)
    British Academy / 2021 – 2022 / £9,892

  • Super Hard Biocompatible Coatings of Beta Ti3Au
    Birkett, M. (Principal Investigator)
    The Leverhulme Trust / 2019 – 2022 / £224,630

  • Development of Advanced Polymers for Subsea Applications
    Martin Birkett (Principal Investigator)
    Technip Umbilical Systems (TUS) / 2018 – 2021 / £141,811

  • Development of Ultra-Precision Thin Film Resistive materials
    Martin Birkett (Principal Investigator)
    TT Electronics PLC / 2014 – 2017 / £60,000

  • Cu-Al-Mo Thin Film Resistive materials
    Martin Birkett (Principal Investigator)
    Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 / 2006 – 2009 / £73,000

Education/Academic qualification

Manufacturing Systems, BEng (Hons)

Engineering, PhD, In thin film materials


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