Thought Leaders

How Can Advanced Materials Facilitate Sustainability in Industry?

Thought LeadersAnia JollyHead of Research and Business Engagement Henry Royce Institute 

AZoM speaks with Ania Jolly, Head of Research and Business Engagement at the Henry Royce Institute, about advanced materials progress as well as industry-led initiatives toward sustainable manufacturing.

Please can you introduce yourself and your professional background?

I am the newly appointed Head of Research and Business Engagement at the Henry Royce Institute and as such, I am responsible for developing and delivering Royce’s strategy for network coordination, research coordination, stakeholder management and business engagement activities in order to maximise the exploitation and impact of advanced materials science at Royce and across the UK.

Since 2016, I have been acting Operations Manager for the Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology Research and Innovation, a £25m partnership between the University of Manchester, NHS, business and local government to promote and translate world-leading research in digital health technologies and advanced materials into new products and services. Prior to that I worked in Knowledge Exchange at the National Graphene Institute where I supported academics to commercialise their research by securing industry investment for projects ranging from small proof of concept studies to larger strategic collaborations with PLCs and Multinationals.

I have over 15 years experience in research development, strategic research management, business development, and innovation. I have successfully developed and managed large research programmes and portfolios at national and international levels across a range of sectors including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, chemistry and engineering in academic, commercial and clinical working environments.

The Henry Royce Institute exists to facilitate the research and development of advanced materials and their applications. What are some of the facilities and pathways offered by the institute in order to do this?

Royce aims to accelerate the invention and take-up of new materials systems that will meet global challenges, and translate into economic and societal benefits, this through activities and services aligned with our 4 mission pillars:

  • Enabling national materials research foresighting, collaboration and strategy
  • Providing access to the latest facilities and capabilities
  • Catalyzing industrial collaboration and exploitation of materials research
  • Fostering materials science research skills development, innovation training and outreach

The Royce Research and Business Engagement (RBE) team are central to the delivery of these activities and services, facilitating broad stakeholder engagement across all the pillars. The team operates across the nine Royce partners - the Universities of Manchester, Cambridge, Imperial College London, Liverpool, Oxford, Sheffield, Strathclyde, the National Nuclear Laboratory, and UKAEA - working to build collaborations with industrial partners from start-ups and SMEs, to large multinational corporations.

Royce works with a growing pool of businesses across the materials landscape and is constantly searching for new collaboration opportunities. We offer flexible support  for a range of needs from equipment access for commercially sensitive research to long-term partnerships. Companies are supported through their research and innovation journey from initial scoping of requirements and structuring project to delivery and completion.

Royce has also developed National Materials Challenges, which sit within our Research Framework, framed through Royce in collaboration with the Materials Community, that represent a continuous, targeted initiative with the purpose of stimulating and driving materials research in the UK towards clear outcomes that meet national and global challenges.

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Image Credit: kkssr/Shutterstock.com

With the support of the community, Royce has developed research roadmaps against these challenges, clarifying the technology gaps and interfaces, which need to be addressed, to support the development of a national research business case. The RBE team is an enabler in producing these roadmaps which support Royce to engage with researchers in both academia and industry and help drive a national approach to the development of an advanced materials research programme.

Prior to your role as the Head of Research and Business Engagement at the Henry Royce Institute you worked in Knowledge Exchange at the National Graphene Institute. What are some of the ways we can encourage communication and facilitate the transfer from research concept to commercialized application?

The challenges associated with the commercialization of materials research and the difficulties for private sector organizations to engage with universities are well documented and stem from differences in culture, funding, and success metrics. From my previous experience working in Knowledge Exchange, some of the key ways to encourage communication and facilitate the transfer from research concept to commercialisation and applications are to place Universities and Research Institutes back at the heart of innovation. Royce aims to accelerate the commercialisation and exploitation of Advanced Materials innovations through its mission pillars described earlier and in particular:

  • Help firms adopt new innovations and/or solve technical issues by leveraging know-how and creating user-friendly access to academic research and expertise with the co-creation of processes, knowledge exchange mechanisms and public-private partnerships
  • Support R&D entrepreneurs and start-ups; develop skills to innovate through building innovation districts and entrepreneurial activities

Royce has developed a flexible suite of support schemes for businesses of different sizes and needs from equipment access with the capability to make, test, and characterize materials, components and systems, to training, knowledge transfer and strategic partnerships.

Royce is also looking to develop supported entrepreneurship programs to develop materials technologies and de-risk them for further commercial investment.  We recognize the importance of delivering these in collaboration with partners who have experience in commercialization and entrepreneurship and have strong links with the private sector.

You are chairing a panel session at the Advanced Materials Show at the NEC later this month on the role of advanced materials in mitigating carbon emissions. What are some of the key points you will be covering in this session?  

According to the US Dept of Energy, 90% of emitted CO2 could be captured with less than 35% of additional budget allocation to carbon capture and storage (CCS) programmes. For heavy industries like cement, chemicals and other carbon-intensive industries, carbon capture is a crucial tool in the bid for carbon neutrality. The session I am chairing addresses the size of the challenges, the range of possible solutions and where the challenges and opportunities lie for materials innovators. Some of the key questions that will be discussed in the session will be around the following:

  • What challenges are large scale industrial sectors facing when it comes to carbon capture and carbon emission reductions and where are the current gaps in innovation, and what role could CCUS play?
  • How impactful and realistic is large scale, direct air capture and where does it stand to make the best impact?
  • Which catalysts are most promising?
  • What is the current status of advanced materials for carbon capture?

Carbon Capture Usage and Storage is a promising technique – however, scaling up will mean repurposing of existing pipelines for Carbon Dioxide transportation. This will require combatting corrosion with novel coatings, metallic and non-metallic materials. 

Could you describe some of the most exciting research or commercial initiatives the Henry Royce Institute is currently engaged with?

As mentioned, Royce with the support of the community has developed National Materials Challenges and through these, roadmapping activities; these roadmapping activities support Royce to engage with researchers in both academia and industry to help drive progress in a particular area, enable the delivery of the right information at the right time and contribute to the materials community cohesion and inclusion.

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Image Credit: Vink Fan/Shutterstock.com

One exciting initiative that the Royce recently undertook as a response to the UK Government's ambitious net-zero emissions target by 2050 and the Committee on Climate Change’s net-zero report is the development of a series of detailed technology roadmaps that set out how UK materials science can contribute to the UK’s low carbon energy transition in the following areas:

  • Materials for Photovoltaic Systems;
  • Materials for Low-Carbon production of Hydrogen and Related Energy carriers and chemical feedstocks;
  • thermoelectric conversion materials;
  • carbon energy conversion materials  
  • Materials for low-loss electronics

These roadmaps working in collaboration with the Institute of Physics were developed by convening the academic and industrial materials research communities to explore the increasingly critical role of novel materials and processes to deliver affordable, reliable and above all green energy.

How important are conferences like Advanced Materials for facilitating conversations around sustainability in manufacturing?   

Developing new materials has always been seen as a slow, risky and expensive process. Now we are in the midst of a digital materials revolution promising to rapidly accelerate the delivery of the new materials – an over-arching approach we are calling Materials 4.0.

Royce is now providing a point around which the materials community can coalesce on this Materials 4.0 revolution and a platform to ensure the needs of the materials community are represented to the Government and funders. Conferences like the Advanced Materials Show are therefore key to facilitating these conversations around sustainability in manufacturing, engaging industry around these new technologies, and showcasing how Royce can help firms to innovate and adopt new technologies. These also provide the opportunity to convene and build a vibrant materials community across the UK.  

                             

 

 

About Ania Jolly

Ania Jolly is the newly appointed Head of Research and Business Engagement at Henry Royce Institute and is responsible for developing and delivering Royce’s strategy for network coordination, research coordination, stakeholder management and business engagement activities in order to maximise the exploitation and impact of advanced materials science at Royce and across the UK.

Ania Jolly is a visionary and performance-driven leader with over 15 years’ experience in research development, strategic research management, business development, and innovation. With a keen interest in developing research and innovation strategies, Ania has successfully developed and managed large research programmes and portfolios at national and international levels across a range of sectors including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, chemistry and engineering in academic, commercial and clinical working environments.

Since 2016, Ania has been acting Operations Manager for the Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology Research and Innovation, a £25m partnership between the University of Manchester, NHS, business and local government to promote and translate world-leading research in digital health technologies and advanced materials into new products and services.

Prior to this, Ania worked in Knowledge Exchange at the National Graphene Institute where she supported academics to commercialise their research by securing industry investment for projects ranging from small proof of concept studies to larger strategic collaborations with PLCs and Multinationals. With a background in chemical engineering and materials science, Ania is a recognised expert in Health technology research and innovation and frequently peer-review project/programme proposals for a variety of funding organisations including UKRI and the EU Commission.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

Skyla Baily

Written by

Skyla Baily

Skyla graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSocSc Hons in Social Anthropology. During her studies, Skyla worked as a research assistant, collaborating with a team of academics, and won a social engagement prize for her dissertation. With prior experience in writing and editing, Skyla joined the editorial team at AZoNetwork in the year after her graduation. Outside of work, Skyla’s interests include snowboarding, in which she used to compete internationally, and spending time discovering the bars, restaurants and activities Manchester has to offer!

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