17.08.2020MICG: Midlands advanced ceramics boosted by Government funding
As a result of the successful bid for funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s flagship ‘Strength in Places Fund’, the Midlands is now one step closer to becoming a global centre for advanced technical ceramics.
The funding from the public body, which has been secured by The Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group (MICG), will assist with the delivery of improvements to manufacturing processes, making advanced ceramics more energy-efficient, faster and cheaper, besides boosting growth and productivity across the supply chain and benefiting customers across a wide range of industry sectors. This will ultimately contribute towards growth of 4,200 jobs in the region by 2030.
MICG member partners range from some of the biggest manufacturers in the region such as Rolls-Royce, Morgan Advanced Materials, JCB and Vesuvius, through to SMEs including Lucideon, Precision Ceramics and AEON Engineering, and academics from three Midlands Engine partner universities.
With a focus on positioning the Midlands as a world leader in advanced ceramics, the MICG draws on industry and academia to make the region a magnet for international investment.
Said Kimberley Walley, an AEON director, “As a founder member of the MICG, naturally we at AEON are really excited by the announcement and the opportunities that this award is going to bring to businesses like ours and the local area.
“The Strength in Places bid will promote the cutting edge innovation that is already happening, but also attract others to share in the knowledge and experience rooted here in the Midlands.
“It’s our ambition that, through this award, the Midlands will become synonymous for research and development; MICG will not only be able to influence education and training in the field of advanced ceramics, but will also provide access to world-leading facilities and experts to businesses like AEON.
“AEON work primarily in R&D, supporting international science projects. Historically, access to necessary facilities has always been geographically out of our area, so to have them on our doorstep is going to help our business continue to deliver innovative solutions for our clients.”
Following the award, Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, said, “The Midlands has always been a global leader in ceramic design, cutting edge product development with global research organisations, and innovative manufacturing technology.
“Advanced ceramics are critical to increase the competitiveness of key high-value advanced manufacturing industries in the region, and vital to the nation’s economic recovery and self-sufficiency.
“As part of Midlands Engine’s role as an ambassador for transformational economic opportunities at scale within our region, supporting MICG in their ambitious bid for investment, we are delighted that SIPF funding has been secured allowing work to progress. We will continue to work with MICG as they advance plans to accelerate and grow our region’s advanced ceramics sector.”
Strength in Places Fund panel chair, Dame Kate Barker, added: “The Strength in Places panel was pleased to recommend this bid for early-stage funding. It provides evidence of excellent research that meets business need and great potential for collaboration, by bringing together a consortia to contribute to increased growth and productivity in areas of local economic activity.”