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Tata Steel backs plans for advanced materials research

by Mark Cantrell
Plans are afoot in Manchester to establish a Centre for Innovation in Advanced Materials after Tata Steel signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Henry Royce Institute.

Plans are afoot in Manchester to establish a Centre for Innovation in Advanced Materials after Tata Steel signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Henry Royce Institute.

The two entities are joining forces on a collaborative research and development programme, which will see Tata Steel invest £10m over four years. The Centre for Innovation will be set up at the Institute’s headquarters at the University of Manchester.

The new centre aims to link up on advanced materials with the broader UK innovation eco-system involving multiple universities, catapult centres, and the National Health Service.

The research programme will get the benefit of participation of leading academics and technologists of the broader eco-system through the partner network of the Henry Royce Institute.

Tata Steel has a growing business in composites, graphene, and medical materials. The research programme at the centre will not only focus on pushing the knowledge boundaries in these materials, but also explore 2D and second-life materials.

Establishing recycling technologies for materials will be an integral part of materials development

T V Narendran, chief executive and managing director of Tata Steel, said: “The establishment of the Centre for Innovation in the UK represents a strategic move for Tata Steel towards harnessing the global technology and innovation ecosystem.

“The Centre at Royce will enable us to work with world-class scientists and a rich partner network to create sustainable, breakthrough, market-ready applications for the benefit of both the company and the community. Tata Steel is committed to developing pioneering technologies and solutions for a better tomorrow.”

Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee, vice president, technology and R&D, Tata Steel, added: “We have set up Centres for Innovation in India in key areas like mobility, mining, mineral research, and advanced materials.

“The Centre for Innovation in Advanced Materials at Royce is one of the first of Tata Steel’s multiple global satellite R&D and technology centres planned in key strategic areas. I am enthusiastic about this collaboration which aligns seamlessly with Tata Steel’s pursuit of technology leadership, and building future-ready businesses by exploring opportunities in materials beyond steel.”

The collaboration aims to strengthen the existing “robust” relationship between the organisations, capitalising on Tata Steel’s extensive expertise in technology translation and commercialisation, complemented by Royce’s strengths in science and innovation within advanced materials.

Additionally, this initiative will also enable the Royce Hub at Manchester to leverage their key Royce Partners which include the Universities of Cambridge and Sheffield, and Imperial College London under this MoU.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester, said: “We are really pleased that Tata Steel is establishing this Centre for Innovation here in Manchester, truly leveraging our world-class expertise in advanced materials. Importantly, this excellent centre will combine the capability of the University of Manchester’s leading materials researchers with the commercial expertise of Tata Steel and is set to deliver a very productive innovation-based relationship for both the university and the company.”

Professor David Knowles, Royce’s chief executive, added: “This important Royce collaboration with Tata Steel further underscores the opportunities for advanced materials and manufacturing both in the North West and across the UK – securing the experience and reach of a global player in materials manufacturing to further accelerate the translation of materials-based technologies to address challenges in health, sustainability and net-zero.

“Critically the centre leverages on Royce’s national network of partners to support a project which has a foot in the North West. We are looking forward to this programme building momentum for the region and feeding into a number of national supply chains supporting regional economic growth around the UK.”

Main image: (Left to right) Sir Peter Gregson, prof Dame Nancy Rothwell, prof David Knowles, Sonal Raghuvanshi, and T V Narendran

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