£25 million advanced materials projects to bring leadership to West Midlands manufacturing
Plans to make the West Midlands the national leader in the research and application of advanced materials manufacturing processes have been given a £25 million boost by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.
[UKPRwire, Mon Jun 18 2007] The Agency is preparing to establish a Centre for Advanced Materials which will undertake research and development into the creation, development and application of advanced materials and sensors.
The advanced materials industry, estimated to be potentially worth more than £5 billion to the West Midlands’ economy, is vital to the future of the aerospace, automotive and medical technologies sectors.
It includes high-technology fields such as ceramics, biomaterials, composites, electronic materials, catalysts and coatings.
Although there are a number of areas in which the West Midlands has strengths – such as research and development in polymers and nanotechnologies – overall the region is an importer of knowledge from overseas.
Advantage West Midlands has prepared a strategy for advanced materials that outlines how the West Midlands can build on existing strengths to emerge as a leader in advanced materials.
The £25 million Centre will be led by the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick and alongside this will be a number of industry-led advanced material pilot demonstrator projects.
Part of the funding will come through the Birmingham Science City initiative where Advantage West Midlands is working alongside the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick to collaborate and create a world-class research base.
Ivan Buckley, Advantage West Midlands advanced materials strategy manager, said: “The recent publication of the regional advanced materials strategy highlights the importance of materials to our economy – estimated to be worth up to £5 billion and vital to the future of many industry sectors including aerospace, automotive and medical technologies.
“It also underpins many of the technologies that will help society to respond to challenges such as climate change and sustainable development.
“Working with industry will be key to the success of the strategy and we are seeking industry involvement in these projects.”
Dr Phil Extance, Advantage West Midlands Director for Innovation, said: “It is vital that the Agency takes the lead on ensuring that advanced materials, which is effectively the future of manufacturing, has the capacity to grow and build.
“Ivan will be working with our region’s many research and development institutions and industry on the delivery of the advanced materials strategy to ensure our region is working together on facing this vital challenge.”