An Interview with Cathryn Hickey, CEO of the AMRICC Centre


Here at The Advanced Materials Show, we recently had the opportunity to interview Cathryn Hickey, CEO of the AMRICC Centre. AMRICC is a unique international facility that translates materials, processes and technologies into real world products and solutions through the commercialisation of innovative ideas. It uses the expertise of scientists, engineers, financial analysts and economists to turn innovative ideas into market-ready technologies.

Cathryn kindly took the time to answer our questions regarding the newly opened centre, its progress, and how she thinks that show will help benefit and grow the industry.

You’ve recently developed a new state of the art facility to continue the development of international advanced ceramic within the next generation- how are you encouraging the next generation of academic to work within the industry? Has it been as successful as anticipated?

‘Yes, a legacy from the Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group’s (MICG) £18.27 million four-year research programme – funded by Government under UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund in 2021 – the new AMRICC centre enables companies and academics to take innovative ideas and place them on the fast-track into commercial products. The facility includes adaptable pilot lines, which offer end-to-end capability through all the steps involved in ceramics and advanced ceramics manufacturing, with users of the facility able to access the technology with the support of on-site technicians and scientists. The centre will also provide a high-profile environment to train the next generation of material scientists by developing new skills and talent in an industrial setting. By providing a collaborative space and delivering the training and support, cross fertilisation between academia and industrial expertise is already proving fruitful.’

What makes the AMRICC Centre stand out and what does it mean for the advanced ceramics sector?
‘The AMRICC Centre remit is to provide the ‘go-to centre’ for ceramics commercialisation and it will help industry develop, prove, and deploy advanced materials much faster and more effectively to meet changing market needs. It enables companies and academics to commercialise new innovation through access to the latest pilot and scale-up capabilities, coupled with the highest level of support to solve key technical challenges. The focus is advanced materials with specific expertise on ceramics and ceramics technologies, with all processing steps and characterisation techniques under one roof.’

How do you support academic and industrial innovators to develop from small scale / proof of concept to production uptake?
‘The AMRICC centre is able to work with companies to trial new products at commercial pilot scale, so helping to de-risk the use of new technologies much quicker. There’s a range of equipment covering the whole process. This includes the standard kit (milling, spray drying, mixers and kilns) through to state of art furnaces and presses. Technical expertise, extensive data capture and analysis and computational modelling are also used to assess and monitor the activities.’

Are there any exciting features that you are planning to have on your stand at the show?
‘It is the first public appearance for the AMRICC Centre, and we’ve a lot to talk about since last year’s Advanced Ceramics Show.
We’ll have a range of details on the equipment within the facility. This is an interesting area for discussion, as some of the technology being introduced is next-generation, high-value equipment, which offers a whole new range of opportunities. We’ll also be showcasing our first case study on modelling.’

How do you think The Advanced Ceramics Show will help benefit the industry?
‘We are looking forward to having an opportunity to interact with people from across the globe. The Advanced Ceramics Show is a hugely important event for us, and we are looking forward to catching up with existing contacts and meeting new ones.’


Cathryn will be speaking on Track Two at the upcoming Advanced Ceramics Show regarding ‘Levelling Up Advanced Ceramics in the UK – The Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group’

The AMRCC will be exhibiting at the upcoming show, visit them on stand 1832 for more!