£18.27 million investment puts Midlands firmly on the map for advanced ceramics
Wednesday, 6 April 2022
The Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group has secured £18.27 million funding from UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF), to put the area firmly on the map as a global centre for advanced ceramics.
Thousands of jobs and a state-of-the-art campus facility are set to be created in the Midlands after the region’s bid to become a world-leader in advanced ceramics received the significant cash boost.
Formed by some of the region’s largest businesses and universities, the MICG was launched in 2020 to deliver a world-leading approach to advanced ceramics.
The successful outcome of the SIPF funding is set to unlock further investment from MICG’s partners, making the scheme a £42.1 million project, which will ultimately contribute towards the growth of 4,200 jobs in the region by 2030.
Membership of the MICG is made up of blue-chip companies and SMEs including Rolls-Royce, JCB, Morgan Advanced Materials and Lucideon – as well as the universities of Birmingham, Leicester and Loughborough.
Ian Edmonds, of Rolls-Royce, is the chair of MICG. He said: “This is great news for the Midlands.
“Advanced ceramics are often unseen but vital components of jet engines, electronics, medical devices, car batteries, other energy technologies and many more manufactured products.
“They allow products to operate at higher temperatures, in more challenging environments and can last longer than plastic or metal equivalents.
“Globally, the advanced ceramics sector is projected to be worth £143 billion by 2023, and the outcome of this funding means the Midlands is well-placed to be part of it.”
The Strength in Places Fund co-invests with businesses in activity to further enhance legacy strengths within a geographic area, taking an industry from the past and transforming into a larger-scale, more innovative sector.
Professor Jon Binner, of the University of Birmingham, said: “As a result of our history in ceramics that goes back centuries, and an extensive manufacturing base, the Midlands hosts the UK’s largest cluster of both users and producers of advanced ceramics.
“This SIPF investment will form part of a co-ordinated effort to grow the whole advanced ceramics supply chain in the Midlands, maximising the UK’s ability to compete more effectively in this global market.”
Central to the bid is an Advanced Ceramics Campus, a 130,000 square feet development, proposed for North Staffordshire.
Tony Kinsella, chief executive of Lucideon, said: “The campus will provide an important hub for industry, offering a centre of excellence for research and development, as well as underpinning academic research.
“It will create an environment for business and academia to share knowledge and collaborate on research and development, safeguarding existing jobs and allowing existing companies to expand, as well as providing opportunities for new start-ups.
“The campus will also have knock-on benefits across the Midlands, with innovation improving productivity and competitiveness in manufacturing, helping to ‘level up’ the region’s economy and create new efficiencies to drive down emissions.”
More details about MICG can be found at https://micg.org.uk/