UK’s Henry Royce Institute — Laying the foundation for materials success

The UK’s Henry Royce Institute has released its interim report as work progresses to develop a National Materials Innovation Strategy.

While materials underpin the UK’s manufacturing base – one of the largest in the world – the materials themselves pose a particular challenge in terms of a focused national effort, because their role is so pervasive. Further they link into a multitude of other sector strategies that depend on their continual innovation. And as the requirement and demands of new and more sustainable materials continue to rise across sectors such as civil engineering, energy, transport and healthcare, the market potential for new materials will only expand.

This highlights the urgency to progress work on a National Materials Innovation Strategy that we started last year.

This strategy, which will set out a 10-year vision, is designed to ensure that materials are clearly positioned as a strategic sector in their own right, as well as critical drivers of innovation across a range of important technologies.

The strategy will ensure that companies with a UK operation can continue to play a key role in rapidly expanding, global, materials markets, which currently generate turnover of £1trln.

Past efforts to bring such cohesion to materials innovation activities have often centred on sectors and have not always considered the synergies between industries and national policy drivers.

At this half-way point in the development of a strategy, we are publishing an Interim Report, which is the output of a distinct approach and is therefore delivering a very different perspective. We’ve worked particularly hard to break down the barriers between sectors, so that this strategy sets out recommendations that are viable right across the economy.

At this stage, we are particularly pleased to present refreshed and comprehensive econometric output. This is telling us that there are over 2,500 companies in the UK active in materials innovation, contributing just under £45bln to the UK economy – almost a quarter of the total contribution from manufacturing. Read more