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£105m advanced materials hub opens in Manchester

The new Henry Royce Institute Hub building at the University of Manchester will act as the UK’s ‘meeting place’ for the advanced materials community, with facilities open to SMEs and wider industry.

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Opened on 7 September, the flagship building acts as the centre point of the national Henry Royce Institute for advanced materials, a national partnership between the University of Manchester and eight other leading institutions - the universities of Cambridge, Imperial College London, Liverpool, Leeds, Oxford, Sheffield, the National Nuclear Laboratory, and the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

The building will be home to 400 researchers, students and staff, with spaces provided for industry engagement with large companies and SMEs alike, helping to accelerate the development and commercialisation of advanced materials.

Areas of focus include novel ‘2D’ materials like graphene, advanced metals processing, biomedical materials, chemicals, electromechanical systems and materials for demanding environments.

Facilities include £45 million of state-of-the-art equipment, high specification laboratories and heavy duty testing areas, alongside existing premises in Manchester for biomedical materials, metals processing, digital fabrication, and sustainable plastics through the recently-launched Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub. A full searchable database of available equipment and facilities is available online.

Speaking via video message at the opening ceremony, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

“The UK has a globally competitive advantage in advanced materials and manufacturing and our new Innovation Strategy sets out our ambition to capitalise on our unique capabilities to fire up our economy.

“Backed by government, this new multi-million-pound centre at the Henry Royce Institute will provide state-of-the-art facilities for the UK’s most innovative researchers to drive forward advanced materials research and commercialise new technologies and products that could help transform whole industries.”

Prof Philip Withers, Henry Royce Institute Chief Scientist, added:

“The research conducted here and across the national partnership will play an important role in the development of game-changing products and components across a range of UK industries including aerospace, life sciences, chemicals, automotive, next-generation nuclear and renewable energy.”

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