UKRI awards £2 million Network Plus grant

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) is awarding a grant of £2 million to set up a network to promote cooperation across the academic community in order to transform foundation industries and to help the UK meet its ambitious net zero targets.

The £2 million grant is being awarded to a team led by Professor Ian Reaney, Dyson Chair in Ceramics at the University of Sheffield, to set up a network to promote cooperation across the academic community.

This will transform foundation industries such as glass, ceramics, paper, metals, bulk chemicals and cement and help the UK meet its ambitious net zero targets.

The universities of Leeds, Manchester and Swansea will work as partners in the network, alongside the University of Sheffield. Known as a Network Plus, the network will:

  • organise workshops and knowledge transfer opportunities among the academic community
  • test concepts and encourage the development of innovative prototype solutions out of a budget of £1.4 million.

The challenges ahead

The Network Plus will provide an important contribution to the transforming foundation industries programme. Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge aims to:

  • revolutionise foundation industries
  • change the kinds of materials that are sourced and processed, the types of products manufactured
  • make the industries themselves more competitive and environmentally friendly.

Bruce Adderly, Challenge Director of ISCF’s Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge (TFIC), UKRI, said:

An economy is only as sustainable as the materials it is built on. Transforming foundation industries like glass, ceramics, metals, paper, cement and bulk chemicals is critical for the UK’s green future.

The Network Plus will play an integral role in building and co-ordinating the academic community, accelerating the development and adoption of new technologies and business models within the sector, which will be key to realising the objectives of the broader ISCF Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge.

Ian Reaney, principal investigator of the Network Plus, commented:

Our goal is to help the UK stay at the forefront of sustainable manufacturing and provide a platform of academic collaboration for the foundation industries to develop new technologies, supply chains and business models to remain competitive whilst meeting future net zero carbon emission targets.

Further information

The ISCF brings together the UK’s world-leading research base with our best businesses to transform how we live, work and move around.

It will put the UK in the best position to take advantage of future market opportunities.

Transforming foundation industries programme through the ISCF will help energy-intensive businesses to share expertise and come up with radical new innovations to help reduce their carbon footprint.

The programme will inject significant new public and industry innovation funding into the foundation industries, helping us deliver against our vision of a cutting edge, innovative and sustainable industrial sector.

£66 million will be provided by the government and £83 million will come from industry.

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