Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, saw first-hand the opportunities advanced materials will bring for the future in a tour of Lucideon’s Stoke-on-Trent facility.
The government Minister looked at how the international technology company is taking the region’s traditional expertise in ceramics and transforming it to meet the needs of a global, high technology audience.
Lucideon’s work in innovation is wide-ranging and covers areas including space operations, aerospace, nuclear energy, healthcare, defence, hydrogen and battery power.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “It is wonderful to see first-hand the continued application and importance of ceramics, one of the oldest industries in the world.
“The way the sector is innovating to tackle global challenges, in particular the journey to net zero, is an example to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
“As members of the Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group, Lucideon will benefit from the £18.27 million investment we announced last week to help the group further its world leading R&D programme, supporting the sector to bring products to market faster, cut emissions and create over4,000 jobs in the region in the coming years.”
Tony Kinsella, CEO of Lucideon, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State and highlight the work being undertaken here, which helps to put North Staffordshire at the heart of innovation and development for the 21st Century.
“We are deploying advanced materials to tackle global issues, including climate change and the move to net zero.
“It was also a timely visit, aligned with the government’s recent announcement of its Innovation Strategy, which decentralises research and development across the country.
“Innovation is absolutely key for us at Lucideon and it was a great opportunity to show our work in this area.”
Lucideon is a member of the Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group (MICG) which brings together industry and academia to further research and innovation.
Fellow MICG members – Professor Jon Binner of the University of Birmingham, and Dr Alan McLlelland of Morgan Advanced Materials – were invited to join the Minister’s tour.
The group set out the potential to attract national and international investment across the region, following the announcement last week that MICG had secured £18.27 million in government funding provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF).
The funding will be used to create a world-leading industrial and academic research and development programme over the next four years, creating a cluster of new businesses in the Midlands and strengthening the supply chain in the region.
The SIPF funding, combined with partner investment and the creation of new business opportunities, will together make the programme a £42.1 million project.
Crucially, it also opens up opportunities to attract further public and private sector funding for an Advanced Ceramics Campus, a 130,000 square feet development, proposed for North Staffordshire – driving the project to £80 million plus, and ultimately contributing towards the growth of 4,200 jobs in the region by the end of the decade.
Tony Kinsella added: “If funded, the campus will have knock-on benefits across the region, with innovation improving productivity and competitiveness in manufacturing, helping to ‘level up’ the local economy and create new efficiencies to drive down emissions.
“It’s an exciting time for the Midlands to create high value roles in science and engineering and become the world leader in an industry that is projected to be worth £143 billion globally by 2023.”