Midlands ceramics consortium lands £18.3m in bid to create 4,200 jobs

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A Midlands-wide consortium has been handed £18.3m of Government cash that could create 4,200 jobs by 2030

The Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group (MICG), a consortium led by Lucideon, will develop streamlined processes to bring new, advanced ceramics technologies to market faster, with less energy usage and lower carbon emissions.

This will enable effective problem-solving and faster commercialisation of new products, unlocking improved performance for next generation products including fuel cells and batteries, 5G communications, ceramic-matrix composites for aero engines, and medical devices.

It will also boost the competitiveness of manufacturers in the region by developing a robust advanced ceramics supply chain, able to export into one of the fastest growing international industry sub-sectors.

Advanced ceramics are vital “enablers” for many manufacturing sectors including energy, health, aerospace, automotive and defence.

However, developing new technologies is currently based on a variety of experimental approaches with much reworking and high rejection rates, resulting in expensive, time-consuming work.

The consortium lead of the project is Stoke-based Lucideon Group, with partners from across the Midlands, including: Rolls-Royce, Morgan Advanced Materials, Vesuvius (Foseco), Trelleborg Retford, McGeoch Technology (Precision Ceramics), CDS, PCL Ceramics, AEON Engineering, Mantec Technical Ceramics, Prince Minerals, JCB, WCM, University of Birmingham, University of Leicester and Loughborough University.

The project have all been under development with seed-corn funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) since August 2020. Thanks to the full-stage award announced today, they can now unlock their full potential, with projects to be delivered over the coming years.

The Strength in Places Fund is a competitive funding scheme that funds collaborative bids from diverse consortia of publicly funded research organisations, businesses, and local leadership, to undertake research and innovation that will have a demonstrable impact on local economic growth.

UK Research and Innovation’s chief executive, professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said: “UK Research and Innovation funding through the Strength in Places Fund brings researchers, industry and local leadership together in outstanding collaborative programmes that catalyse significant economic growth.

“The projects funded in this round are excellent illustrations of how local partnerships in research and innovation can contribute to building an inclusive knowledge economy for the UK.”

Strength in Places Fund panel chair, Dame Kate Barker, said: “The Strength in Places Fund, led by UK Research and Innovation, is unique as it is the only UK funding programme that provides place-based investment in research and innovation activity to support sustained and significant local economic growth across the UK.”