Henry Royce Institute kick-starts a National Strategy for Materials Innovation and Commercialisation

Thursday 20th April saw the launch of a Materials Innovation Strategy Framework consultation document which is aimed at ensuring the UK has a world-leading position in rapidly expanding materials markets, substantially enhancing the value of some of the largest UK- based industries and ensuring materials science researchers are supported in commercialising their ground-breaking discoveries into game-changing products and services.

A summary document, Materials Futures: Growing the UK’s critical capabilities in materials innovation was also launched to a hundred-strong audience, at an Advanced Materials Showcase at the House of Commons. The Framework aligns with the ambitions of the  Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s (DSIT) new Science and Technology Framework, which sets out the key actions needed to secure strategic advantage through science and technology,  pursuing the technologies that are most critical to achieving UK policy objectives.

The Henry Royce Institute (Royce) has facilitated this initial Framework document, the result of focused consultation, and designed to kick-start a National Strategy for Materials Innovation which is urgently needed to deliver a coherent approach across Government, industry and the wider materials technology community. This Strategy will identify and prioritise high-potential areas where materials innovation can make an impact in creating new and significant forms of value while addressing national priorities.

Royce is now seeking leaders from industry and key research organisations to become part of a Materials Innovation Strategy Group to own the outputs and drive implementation plans, and to be part of an alliance for materials that will provide opportunities to collaborate, to work with Government and above all, to grow the materials innovation pipeline. Interested parties can submit an Expression of Interest – final appointments will be made through an independent review process

Materials underpins manufacturing, and the UK is one of the largest global manufacturing nations, contributing £203 billion every year to GVA and supporting 5 million jobs. 84% of this manufacturing takes place outside of London and the South East. The importance of materials to the UK economy is therefore clear.

Professor David Knowles, Royce CEO said: “As the UK’s national institute for advanced materials Royce is pleased to facilitate this important strategy development work, which recognises that our national materials innovation capabilities are a significant asset and a strategic approach to managing them is therefore essential in ensuring the UK is the most effective exploiter of materials innovation in the world. More than ever materials innovation has to be accelerated in the UK if it is going to deliver against the needs of major challenges such as net zero, health improvements, sustainable use of resources and, of course, underpin a robust economy.

“We know that the UK leads the way in materials R&D, however, it does lag other countries in its ability to translate all that effort and commercialise new and improved materials. Today is a “Call To Arms” particularly to industry leaders around the UK to join forces with us to develop a focussed strategy designed to ensure we urgently expedite the translation of this research into new products and services.”

The Showcase also saw speeches from Sir Peter Gregson, Royce Chair;  Pippa Sharma, Deputy Director Technology Strategy & Security, Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT); Caroline Hargrove,  Chief Technology Officer, Ceres; Tim Denison, Depts of Engineering Science and Clinical Neuroscience, University of Oxford; Robert Sorrell, Royce Hydrogen Challenge Lead and David Knowles Royce CEO.

This Strategy Framework has been developed with the support of IfM Engage and Urban Foresight.